What is the spirit of heaviness?

Man comforting his sad mourning friend

“…he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound…to comfort all that mourn; To appoint to them that mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…”  Isaiah 61:1b-3 Continue reading

When God Pours Out His Spirit, The Thirsty Are Satisfied

boy under waterfall“‘In the last days’, God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people.'” (Acts 2:17)

When God pours our His Spirit, it isn’t a little trickle. It’s a gushing of His Spirit. What does an outpouring of the Holy Spirit look like?

Those who look for God will find Him. Ezekiel 39:29 says, “I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the people of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.” Who are the people of Israel? It’s people of faith who choose to believe God.  (Galatians 3:6-7)

When there is an outpouring of God’s Spirit, there is an increased sense of intimacy with God. Encounters with God satisfy thirsty souls. We not only know about God. We know God. Facts about God give way to relationship with Him.

Many of those who come to a saving faith during an outpouring of God’s Spirit will be sons and daughters of believers. There will be an increase in prodigals returning home. Isaiah 44:3-5 says,

For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children. They will thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank. Some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the LORD.’ Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’”

Another indication that God is pouring our His Spirit is that barren places come to life. Picture a desert that becomes a garden. (Isaiah 32:15) This garden is filled with abundant fruit. When God pours out His Spirit, it’s harvest time. This means a harvest of all the hard work of God’s people. The people of God will reap where they have sown. Their efforts will bear fruit. Fruit that will last. Believers will plunder the camp of the enemy. God will repay His people “for the years the locusts have eaten.” (Joel 2:25) He will vindicate His people for all that the enemy plundered from them. It will be a time of spiritual “fatness” as God restores the grain, the new wine and oil. Joy will rest upon God’s people. We’ll walk in the anointing of the Holy Spirit, enabled to do all that God calls us to do. God will use the financial restoration of His people to fund His kingdom agenda.

Feet splash in water“…once more God will send us his spirit. The wasteland will become fertile, and fields will produce rich crops.” Isaiah 32:15

When God pours out His Spirit, we also see rest restored to God’s people. Isaiah 32:15-18) God’s people will find rest for their souls. Strongholds of shame will break off. (Joel 2:27) Minds once ravaged by fear and depression will experience rest. Emotions that were once tossed to and fro like the waves of the sea will become calm. When we lie down to sleep, our rest will be undisturbed and restorative.

When God pours out His Spirit, we can also expect to see believers walk in an increased level of power. The early church experienced this on Pentecost. (Acts 1:8) Jesus’ disciples, once timid and vacillating, became bold and courageous. They preached the gospel with authority. They knew what their mission was, and they did it even in the face of persecution. God will make His word known on the earth through His people. God will cause believers to walk in obedience to His word.  (Ezek 36:27)

Dreams, visions and prophecy increase when God pours out His Spirit.  (Acts 2:17-18) We are already seeing this increase. God is speaking much more frequently through dreams. As believers seek God for accurate interpretations and applications of God’s revelation, God’s kingdom moves forward.

Father's hand hold daughter hands to save water at waterfall. National Water Quality Month.And afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on My menservants and maidservants, I will pour out My Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth…” Joel 2:28-30a

As we approach Pentecost this year (May 31st), I pray that we as a Church will invite God to pour out His Holy Spirit upon us. As we cry out for times of refreshing, God will hear our prayers! The Holy Spirit is trustworthy. He our gentle, guiding friend. May we know Him as our constant companion,

Arlene

 

When The Waiting Gets Tough, The Tough Get Patient

Young man traveler sitting with using mobile phone choose where to travel and bag waiting for train at train station.backpacker at the train station and looking on mobile phone for plan to travel.What are your marching orders in this season? Is it, “Run hard and fast?” Or, “Wait.” I’m in the latter category.  Like a runner waiting for the signal that the race is on, I want to run. The waiting feels like it’s taking forever. Waiting can be one of the hardest things to do. I’d much rather roll up my sleeves and get to work. But God keeps saying, “Wait. Trust My timing. I will determine when it’s time to run.” If you’re waiting too, I hope to encourage you with some things that have helped me:

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How To Exchange Panic For Peace

Young happy woman drinking coffee on the kitchen in the morningIn one split second, I went from peace to panic. I felt like my lungs were being compressed, making it almost impossible to speak. One word at a time, that’s all I could force out. Fear of the Corona virus beckoned for me to take it’s hand. Fear was an old familiar enemy. It had taken me years to break free from it’s grip. It screamed, “I’m baaaack!” But this time, I knew where to turn. Or rather, Whom I needed to turn to. Continue reading

Missing Your Church Family?

How taking part in on-line worship services keeps us connected

Resized_IMG_1157This beautiful young mama is my friend Joey. In a season when they could be cut off from fellowship with other believers, Joey and her precious family are staying connected. I absolutely love this picture. It personifies the tenacity that overcomes whatever obstacle we may find in our way. Shelter at home? No problem. The church still advances. The church isn’t about a building. We ARE the church.

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Looking For Peace When Life Feels Out Of Control?

 

Mann wird von einem Unwetter weggeweht

If someone had told me 6 months ago that today the stock market would be tumbling, that we’d see churches, cruise lines, malls, gyms and hair salons shutting down, I’d have thought you were crazy. But then, life can get a little crazy at times. In times like these, we need a safe place to go.  We need an emotional safe house. Continue reading

Echoed Cries Of Depression

African American man praying and reading the Bible.What The Psalmist Teaches Us About Recovering Joy

We hear the anguish in the words of  Psalm 77, “I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help…Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion?”

Maybe you can relate. Maybe there have been times in your life when your perception of God didn’t line up with God’s description of Himself in the word…Compassionate. Promise keeper. Comforter. Our help in times of trouble. Rescuer. I have certainly been in that place. And it feels like anguish. So what can we learn from the writers of the Psalms about depression? Continue reading

Stepping Into Healing After Miscarriage, Part 1

Sad woman and man comforting her on a ledge

“God, please, no…not again.” I tried pleading. I tried bargaining. Then it was over. We’d lost another baby. Waves of depression rolled over me like a heavy blanket. I tried to pray, but it felt like a one way conversation. When I felt like I needed my Father the most, I felt abandoned. Why couldn’t I hear His voice? I longed for Him to comfort me, but I just couldn’t seem to find Him. Continue reading

What Does Spiritual Wholeness Look Like?

African man wearing backpack standing on forest trailWhen I consider what it might look like to walk whole, images of some of the great men and women of the ages come to mind. Men like William Wilberforce, who were willing to endure great opposition in order to fulfill their purpose.  Wilberforce had few allies when he began his quest to abolish the slave trade in England. His burden for slaves burned in his soul, his health nearly destroyed by it. His passion would not be silenced until many years later, when he succeeded in his mission, even his one-time enemies couldn’t help but commend his dedication. Continue reading

How To Break Unhealthy Soul Ties

Young woman and man holding hands, tender relationship of sweet couple, love

What exactly is a soul tie? It’s the knitting together of two or more individuals…body, soul and spirit. Think of it as an invisible umbilical cord. This connection will either supply healthy nutrients or destructive toxins.  God in His goodness ordained that soul ties would benefit people by fostering that which is good, nurturing and loving in our relationships. But Satan likes to twist what God meant for good and use it to lie, steal and destroy.

What is the purpose, or function of a soul-tie?

The first function of a soul-tie is to influence the way we think and act, for good or for bad.

Another function of a soul-tie is to bond, or bring people together; emotionally, spiritually and physically. This pull can be felt long after any physical nearness to the other person has ceased.

The third purpose, or function of a soul-tie is to preserve the relationship. Soul-ties promote loyalty, whether or not staying in the relationship is a good idea.

Places where you’ll see soul ties:

In any relationship where there has been sexual intimacy

Marriage between a man and a woman is meant to create a healthy soul tie. This bond is meant to act as a glue that helps couples weather the storms of life. Ephesians 5:31 says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

Soul ties are also created through sexual intimacy outside of marriage.  1 Corinthians 6:16 says, “Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” Even one night stands leave those involved bound together on an emotional and spiritual level. Sexual soul-ties are not limited to sex between a man and a woman; they can be formed between people of the same sex or with animals. Even after marriage, soul ties from prior relationships may still remain and influence the married couple.  In this case, freedom requires breaking off those soul ties.

I met one woman whose husband had been in a relationship before they met.  It seemed someone coming between them, even though the first woman no longer had any contact with the husband. In time, the husband and wife split up.  The two women happened to meet one another. The wife instantly knew that the other woman was “the other woman” in her husband’s life even before she learned what her name was. It seemed that “the other woman” had never gotten over this woman’s husband. They were all feeling the effects of an old, unresolved soul-tie.

Soul ties also develop in friendships: 1 Samuel 18:1 says, “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.”

When in High School I was close friends with an unbeliever. I came to the place where I knew that if I wanted to to follow Christ, I could no longer allow her to have such a high level of influence in my life. The two of us went our separate ways.  For years after having had no contact with her, I still felt her influence and judgment whenever I made choices that she wouldn’t agree with. It felt like following Christ was more difficult because I knew she wouldn’t approve. The soul tie between us was like an elastic umbilical cord, beckoning me back toward her value system. I have since taken steps to break that soul tie, and I am free from it today.

Soul ties are also created between parents and children: In the book of Genesis we are shown that Jacob was closely tied, or bound up to his son Joseph, and later on with his son Benjamin. For those of you who are familiar with the story of Joseph, we see in Genesis 44 that Joseph is now a powerful authority in Egypt; second only to Pharaoh. Joseph’s brothers have come to Egypt to buy grain. When Joseph tells his brothers to return to their home and that their brother Benjamin will remain in Egypt as a ransom, Joseph’s brother Judah replies, “So now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father, and if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy’s life, sees that the boy isn’t there, he will die.” Jacob had a soul-tie with each of his 12 sons. These soul ties with his children influenced them in ways that were good. However, it appears that Jacob also had unhealthy soul-ties with Joseph and Benjamin. The unhealthy soul-ties caused Jacob to show favoritism toward Joseph, which created jealousy among his other sons. The unhealthy part of that soul-tie also made Jacob vulnerable to a mind-set that said that life wasn’t worth living if Benjamin were to die.

How are unhealthy soul-ties created between a parent and child?

One way is through painful or distressing life events

One woman gave the account of how she came to have an unhealthy soul tie with one of her children. When she and her husband came home from a night out later than expected, the babysitter didn’t reassure her children, but fed their fear instead by telling the children that their parents had probably gotten in an accident and might even be dead. One of her children came into agreement with fear, or what some would call “separation anxiety.” An unhealthy soul-tie developed between this mother and her child. The mother struggled to trust God to protect her child. She also didn’t trust God with her child’s fear. In her attempt to protect her child in her own strength, an unhealthy soul tie developed.  She repented and came out of agreement with the unhealthy part of that soul tie.

Unhealthy soul ties can also develop when we begin to idolize our children. So, how do we know if we’ve crossed the line in our love for our children and made them into idols?

  • When our children become our source of comfort or defense instead of God when we are hurting or afraid.
  • When we cannot both obey God and please our children, and we choose to please our children.

When soul-ties are between family members, we want the healthy part of the soul-ties to remain. Even when there may be many unhealthy elements in family relationships, there are usually many healthy, good ties that we want to remain intact. Adopted children will benefit spiritually by breaking any unhealthy part of soul-ties with biological parents and foster parents, even if they do not personally know them.

Soul-ties also occur among members of the body of Christ: Ephesians 4:16 says, “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” This is one reason that wounds that occur within the church family can cause so much pain.

Soul-ties can be created through idolatry. This happens when we put others above Christ in our hearts.  Soul ties rooted in idolatry can happen with another person, a group of people, or animals.

While I don’t know the heart of the person in the true story I am about to tell, I think it gives a good example of what a soul tie with an animal might look like: Dan Patch was a famous racehorse during the early 1900’s. He had lost only two heats in his career and never lost a race. Wikipedia say, “His speed was such that other owners sometimes refused to race their horses against him, leaving him to compete against the clock.”

Quote from Dan Patch Days Website: “The bond of affection between Dan Patch and his beloved owner Marion Savage was very great. He worshipped the horse and the feeling was mutually returned by the animal. The owner died of a broken heart just 24 hours after the King of Pacers passed away. This was in July 1916. The story is told of this most dramatic coincidence. It seems that Mr. Savage was in a Minneapolis hospital recovering from a minor operation when his great standard-bred died of a heart ailment following an attack of pneumonia. Told of his horse’s demise Mr. Savage passed away the next day. Attending physicians stated that death was caused by the shock resulting from the loss of the horse he idolized.”

What if we recognize that we have developed an unhealthy soul tie? How can it be broken off of our lives?

  1. Repent for any sins that opened a door for the unhealthy soul tie to develop. (i.e., sex outside of marriage, idolatry, etc.)
  2. Forgive those involved for all offenses.
  3. Ask the Lord Jesus to break off unholy soul ties.
  4. Strongly resist any unholy influence that came through that soul tie. Exchange any lies that empower the soul tie with the truth in God’s word.

 

Response Time

Dear Lord,

I now recognize that I have come into agreement with an unholy soul tie. I no longer want this to remain in my life. Please forgive me Jesus, I ask that you would break the power of this over my life. Help me to love you with my whole heart, soul, mind and strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen