Do You Have “Ears to Hear”?

Tuning in to what really matters . . .

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Are you aware that you have two sets of ears? One set is called your physical ears. The other set is called your spiritual ears. With your physical ears, you hear the sounds of the natural world. With your spiritual ears, you hear the sounds of the spiritual world. Since the spiritual world controls the natural world, it is important that we learn to hear with our spiritual ears.

Deaf womanWhen Jesus taught, He often ended His teaching with the words, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” What did He mean by these words, and why did He utter them?

The ears to which Jesus was referring are the ears of the heart or the spirit. Jesus taught spiritual truths that could only be grasped and understood with the ears of the spirit. He wanted the people to hear be yond the physical meaning of the words and to hear the spiritual meaning of the words. Why? Because the meaning of His message lay in the spirit realm.

The spirit realm is the Kingdom of God. It is there that we discover the real meaning of life. Jesus wants us to focus our hearing on the sounds–the words, the lessons, the instruction–that we hear coming from the Kingdom of God. Only as we hear and obey the sounds of the Kingdom of God will be set free.

YOUR TURN:  How would you describe “ears to hear”? Please post your comment in the box below. Thank you!

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How to Turn Your Test into Your Testimony

Pursuing Your Victory

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Like any good parent, our loving Heavenly Father wants His children to mature.  The process of maturity requires testing.

test icon

A test is a measurement of your spiritual growth.  A test is not a punishment.  It is an opportunity to fulfill our call as followers of Yeshua to enforce God’s Kingdom on the earth.

When a test comes–as it surely will–our response to the test will determine whether or not we pass the test. If we respond in the Spirit, we will pass the test. If we respond in the flesh, we will fail the test.

In every test lies the seed of victory and the seed of failure.  What seed sprouts depends on how we respond to the test.  

Respond in such a way that your test will become your testimony of God’s power manifested in your life.

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How to Recognize a Controlling Spirit

Identifying Jezebel

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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The Body of Christ is being plagued by a Jezebel spirit. What is a Jezebel spirit? In short, it is a spirit of control. The name derives from Jezebel, wife of Ahab in the Old Testament, who was a control freak.

Isolated hand control business man

A spirit of control has its roots in fear. Those who are dominated by a spirit of control always act out of fear, not out of love. When such a person is in a leadership role, the results can be disastrous, resulting in broken relationships and even church schisms.  

Here are some signs of a controlling spirit:

  1. Assuming authority one does not have.  I have seen this especially among pastors’ wives (or husbands) who believe that they have the rights of a co-pastor just because they are married to the pastor. A young woman came to me recently who had been hired for a paid position in her church. Her boss was the pastor, and she was told that she reported to him alone. The pastor’s wife, however, who was not this young woman’s boss, began to give orders to the young woman regarding how she was to do her job. When the young woman politely explained that the pastor was her boss and had given the young woman freedom to make basic decisions regarding her job, the pastor’s wife became irate. Upon closer investigation, the young woman discovered that this particular pastor’s wife continually interfered in her husband’s role as pastor, even though she was not ordained. The pastor, by the way, was afraid to confront his wife. While the young woman really liked her job, she could not continue to function under a controlling spirit and eventually left.
  2. Inability to admit that one was wrong. A controlling person will rarely, if ever, admit that he was wrong. He will not allow room for the viewpoints of others and insists that his viewpoint alone is the correct one. While displaying a false sense of confidence, controlling people are really very insecure.
  3. Taking matters into their own hands–especially matters that do not belong in their hands. A controlling person believes that no one can handle a matter as well as she can. This attitude is rooted in pride. A controlling person cannot bear to think that others may know more about something than he does. 
  4. Manipulating circumstances. Manipulation is one of the chief characteristics of a controlling spirit. A controlling person will go out of his way to get others to do things his way. Because control is rooted in fear, a controlling person attempts to maintain control of her environment by controlling others. In so doing, the controlling person is deceived into thinking she is safe and secure. 
  5. Casting blame on others. A controlling person will blame others for rifts in communication and for problems resulting from her controlling spirit. She must maintain a superior position in order to feel good about herself. She refuses to look at herself as the one responsible for the problem.

Dealing with a controlling person can be extremely difficult because the controlling person refuses to admit she is the problem. If you are involved with a controlling person, it is imperative that you establish your boundaries and express them. If you are under the authority of a controlling person, it is imperative that you not allow yourself to be abused. Pray for the person in authority over you, but if things don’t change, remove yourself from the situation. 

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You and Your Spirit-Soul Connection

YOU AND YOUR SPIRIT-SOUL CONNECTION

 “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Harmony, sign series for music, singing, choir and bandsLast time we explored the Rule of Three as it relates to your soul, aka heart. Today, we’re going to explore the soul as it relates to your spirit.

You are a three-part being.  First of all, you are a spirit. Then you have a soul. Finally, you have a body that houses your spirit and your soul

Each of your three parts (spirit, soul, and body) is also comprised of three parts. Last time we said that your soul is made up of your mind, your will, and your emotions. Your body is made up of water, tissue, and bones. Your spirit is made up of your conscience, your intuition, and your communion with God.

The soul and the spirit have different functions, yet they are intimately connected and affect your daily life. When your soul (your heart) and your spirit are in harmony, you will experience peace and joy.

How can we get our souls and our spirits to be in harmony? The most important key is to understand that your spirit was designed by God to rule your soul and your body.  But, unless your spirit is connected to God (communion), your spirit will not be able to do its job properly. In fact, a spirit disconnected from God will wreak havoc on your soul and your body.

So, the first rule of order is to make sure your spirit is connected to God.  How? By accepting Jesus as your Savior and Lord. (If you don’t know how to do this, click here).

Once your spirit is connected to God, it can begin to commune with God.  This means that your spirit will begin to hear from God, to talk with God, to receive from God.  Romans 7:6 says that we serve God “in the new life of the spirit.” 

Understanding that your soul is separate from your spirit and must be subject to your spirit is critical when dealing with matters of the heart.  When we confuse the two, we get into trouble. Watchman Nee wrote: “But sad to say, due to long years of bondage to the soul, many Christians know very little of their spirit. We ought to tremble before God, asking Him to teach us through experience what is spiritual and what is soulish.”

If you are confused about the different functions of your soul and your spirit, ask Holy Spirit to reveal this difference to you. Read the Word of God diligently.  In Hebrews 4:12 we learn that ” . . .  the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

The Word of God will help you to understand the spirit-soul connection.  As you grow in this understanding, you will learn how to submit your soul to your spirit and, in so doing, to experience the joy and peace God intends for you.

If you would like to know more about your triune nature, check out my book YOU WERE MADE FOR GREATNESS! You Were made for Greatness

You may leave a comment by clicking here. To receive these blog posts in your emailbox, please click here.

If you found this post helpful, please pass it on to someone who can benefit from reading it. Thank you!

If you have any questions, you may contact me as follows:

Email: drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com
Snail Mail: PO Box 1185, Merchantville, NJ 08109
Tel. 856-488-3580
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Copyright 2015 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

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Dr. Diorio is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Biblical Counselor, and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She is also an award-winning, widely published author of fiction for children and adults. You may reach her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com  or via one of her social media venues below:

Joy vs. Happiness

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Woman Meditating or Worshiping in AutumnAre you happy?  Are you joyful? The two are not the same, you know.  You can be joyful without being happy, and you can be happy without being joyful. Of course, you can also be both.

Happiness is of the soul; joy is of the spirit.

What does this mean?  It means that happiness depends on circumstances but joy does not.  You can be joyful in the midst of great personal sorrow. In other words, you can experience joy even when your circumstances make you unhappy.  By the same token, you can be happy in your circumstances, but deep down you lack joy.

For example, a woman may be in a very unhappy marriage, but she can still experience the joy of the Lord deep within her spirit.  Or a man may be very unhappy in his job, but he can still experience the joy of the Lord deep down in his spirit.

Joy is the eternal fruit of the Holy Spirit. It supersedes the temporary circumstances of your life and causes you to rise above them.  Happiness, on the other hand, vacillates based on what is happening in your life at any given moment.  The pursuit of happiness will keep you chained to your circumstances and make you a victim of them. The pursuit of joy will set you free to rise above your circumstances.

Scripture tells us that “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).  Joy carries us through difficult times in a way that happiness cannot.

Pursue joy above happiness. Happiness can swiftly disappear, but joy remains forever.

Unforgiveness can keep you from experiencing the joy of the Lord.  If you have no joy, ask yourself if you are harboring unforgiveness toward someone who hurt you. If so, you will benefit from reading my powerful story about a woman who had the same struggle. It is called A CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING and is available for Kindle, iPad, and Nook.  book-christmas-homecoming-alt

You may leave a comment by clicking here. To receive these blog posts in your emailbox, please click here.

If you found this post helpful, please pass it on to someone who can benefit from reading it. Thank you!

If you have any questions, you may contact me as follows:

Email: drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com
Snail Mail: PO Box 1185, Merchantville, NJ 08109
Tel. 856-488-3580

____________________________________________________________________

Copyright 2015 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

Photo Source: Fotolia.com

Amazon.com Required Disclosure:  MaryAnn Diorio is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Dr. Diorio is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Biblical Counselor, and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She is also an award-winning, widely published author of fiction for children and adults. You may reach her at maryann@maryanndiorio.com  or via one of her social media venues below: