Waking up to the Spirits

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Hi guys! My name is Vera. I’m interning for Mike Maeshiro. I’m so excited to be part of his world and also be able to share my insights from my first hand experiences! Mike and I will be working together this year to get more content out in written form and I’m really excited for some projects we have coming up!

To give you an idea of how I got plugged into Mike’s world, I have a funny story to tell you. Well, it’s funny now but at the time...well, you’ll see.

Attending Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in the 2nd year program, I was choosing my Advanced Ministry Training classes when I saw “Discerning Spirits” by Mike Maeshiro on the list.

I thought to myself “Yes, that’s for me. I’m a feeler.”

In the first class Mike talked about what a spirit is and he explained how they operate. He described in a situation what it looks like when a spirit is trying you to agree with it. I found myself sitting there with my mouth wide open. All of a sudden my life made sense. All of a sudden I understood myself so much more. I could relate to what Mike was talking about because I experienced the exact same things he was describing. In that moment, “discerning spirits” made so much more sense.

The day before class, I was watching a movie with my friends. There was a scene in the movie that I didn’t understand. I was confused and I asked one of my friends what had just happened. It was not a complicated scene in the film and it was actually easy to get. When I realized what I couldn’t understand I started feeling bad about myself. I honestly felt dumb. I thought to myself, “How could I not get that?” and “Why are there so many other movies where I don’t get what is happening? Something must be wrong with me. Movies are not designed to be hard to follow, they’re made for any audience. It can’t be the movies - so it obviously MUST be me!”

Mike explained that spirits have access to our memory when we agree with them. Right then, I knew what was up!

I started to believe that I was dumb FIRST because I didn’t understand something. THEN I remembered all of the other moments when I didn’t understand scenes in movies.

I could see the difference between what I always thought was me and what was actually a spirit trying to invade my life. I realized that I had been discerning spirits before but I didn’t know that I was doing it.

Mike had a lot of answers and he seemed to have it all together. I was amazed at his knowledge and his gifting. Here’s where things get weird. Mike was very confident and authoritative in the way he taught. It was intriguing and inspiring.
All of a sudden Mike seemed very confident to me – maybe a little too confident.

“Who does he think he is? He’s just a human. He’s not allowed to be that sure of himself.”

“People often think I’m full of myself.” Mike said.

Right then I realized that I thought the same thing. I thought, “How can he be so convinced about what he is teaching and how in the world is he so confident?” I noticed how I started looking for flaws in Mike. I got offended by his maturity.

I knew that that was not right but it made my pain dissolve. In that moment, I realized what I was doing. I chose to diminish Mike in order to feel better about myself. That was an agreement with a spirit. When I came to that awareness, I chose to disagree with it. I said to myself “No, I’m going to let it hurt.” I chose truth and not denial.

I woke up to a different realization of reality in that class, my life was changed forever. Not because I learned something I’ve never heard before but because I learned to communicate in a language that I’ve always been speaking.

I’m so passionate about helping people wake up to what’s really going on in and around them and I’m honored to be on Mike’s team. The work he is doing is valuable and necessary for people. There’s so much for us to learn and I’m excited to be right in the thick of it!

-Vera D.

Dear Non-Christians...

Dear non - Christians,

I have a confession to make on behalf of Christianity and The Church.

We owe you an apology.

We don't have the corner market on salvation. We aren't the gatekeepers of heaven. It's not up to us who is in right standing with God and who isn't.

Don't get me wrong, we'd sure like it to be. And I think we want to believe that ourselves even more than we want you to believe it.

But the truth is...we don't have control over any of this.

In our attempt to control things beyond our power, we've actually lost control of ourselves.

We accidentally chose religion over love. We chose rules over relationship. We turned you from our neighbor, a person we share this world with, to our enemy, someone we have to defeat or overcome.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying other pathways lead to life and freedom. They don't. There is only one way for any of us to access freedom and life, to live without shame or guilt or fear. A lot of us aren't even sure that's possible. But some of us know it is. And the only way there is through Jesus.

Those of you who agreed with our rules and practices, we wanted to guarantee you admittance into our club. So we franchised prayer and created a toll booth on the road to freedom. If you "pray these words," you're in, you can pass. We so wanted to be able to offer this to you! The problem is...that's actually not up to us. We don't own the rights to that road, to that prayer.

Those of you who don't agree with our rules and practices, we wanted to keep you out. We wanted to punish you and make you pay for attacking our superstitions and exposing our insecurities. We know we're supposed to be better than you so this internal conflict has proven difficult to manage. Some of you are unruly and unpredictable. We don't trust things we don't have control over so we had to find a way to protect ourselves from your wildness.

But we actually have a bigger problem than you. Our biggest problem is Jesus. He's our Lord and Savior but He's also the biggest wild card in our whole operation. 

The truth is...we don't have control over Jesus.

He's pesky and merciful. He's gracious and compassionate. He breaks the rules constantly, which, for the record, is confusing. So we've made up some weird stuff to explain away His unpredictability. But I can't keep doing this, we gotta come clean.

So...I'm sorry. 

I'm sorry for making you feel like you were less than us. I'm sorry for making you feel like you didn't belong, like you weren't good enough, like you weren't enlightened enough or pure enough. The truth is, that's none of our business. In assuming the seat of the judge of you, we have condemned ourselves and distorted our perception of the truth. 

I'd like to propose that we start over. Can we forget the centuries and generations of discord and condemnation? Can you forgive us for our arrogance and manipulation? Can you pardon us from being so wrong and so emphatic about it? 

The truth is, we actually want to love you. Not the fake, religious love you've been sold, I mean that unconditional, altruistic love that comes from Jesus. He's the only one Who can love you like that and we'd like to humble ourselves and let Him show us what it's like to go that low for you. 

I don't expect you to just forget right away. But, for what it's worth, we'd like to rebuild. We'd like to hold your hand in our walk toward the future, care for you and serve you even if it means losing our security and control. 

The truth is, you're beautiful. We're so sorry for treating you otherwise and we'd like to make it up to you. 

With love,

The Christians

PS Thanks for rejecting the poison of religion, that was really cool of you. 

Manifestations Are For the Good of All

This was my face after reading what I'm about to share with you...

A man named Dallas attended the Discerning Spirits Conference my team and I just hosted. I've read his testimony four times. He sent me his story and I loved it so much, I wanted to share it with you guys. Here it is, enjoy!

"I was saved 4 years ago into a very religious community. The first time I read Acts, I knew that the people around me were all missing something. I found a conservative, Spirit-filled church and finally began to experience life in the Spirit and many of the other things I always longed for and searched for via the use of drugs, especially psychedelics.

"Some of our staff decided to come to Redding to be sozoed and visit Bethel. We stumbled on the Discernment Conference by happenstance.

"I did not grow up in the church. I was saved 4 years ago. The first time I ever took a spiritual gifts test, my number 1 result was discernment. I had no clue what it was. From the time I was a child, I always knew good people from bad people. I always just thought I was just a very strong judge of character. I have always been anti social and extremely empathetic. I always know what people think and how they feel. For most of my life, I had to hide, attack others, and also control people around me to feel safe.

"I was a manic depressive alcoholic/addict. After a lot of deliverance, inner healing, maturity, and time, I reached a place where I knew that I was generally mentally, spiritually, and emotionally healthy and whole.

"While reading about the conference, I found myself intrigued by language that was being used. Over the next 6 weeks before the conference, I went on a short journey asking God what it means to be afflicted by my gift and asking about discernment in general. The revelation I received just from reading about the discerning spirits conference brought me so much freedom. It was also the first time that all the emotions and feelings I felt my entire life were finally validated. Not only that, I learned that not all the things I have always felt were actually because something was wrong with me.

"Coming into the conference, I had experienced being slain in the spirit and I have a prayer language. I had never been what people have always referred to as "drunk" in the spirit. Much of what I have seen has offended me because of my discernment. I didn't doubt that it was real but much of what I have seen has been questionable and distracting, in my opinion.

"On the 2nd day of the conference, Deborah started things off with a bang. As she was being introduced, she was sitting on a lady in the back of the room who was laughing uncontrollably. I don't remember much about what she shared other than I was intrigued by her stuffed animals.


About halfway through, a woman broke out into laughter and Deborah stopped speaking and went to pray for her. Or something. Then all of heaven broke loose and the ministry team was sent out. It started on the other side of the room and I was able to witness something I had only ever heard of. Many of the things I saw were offending my eyes and my mind. Then Mike asked for us to posture ourselves in a way that was open to receive. So I did. Because I really did want to receive it, I was just extremely fearful of what I did not know.

"Then a guy came crawling over the chairs from behind us and as soon as he stepped onto our row, I was filled with laughter. Then when he put his hand on me, I began to laugh uncontrollably to the point that I felt like I was going to fall out of my chair. And so I did. Then I laid on the ground and laughed until my stomach hurt and then I laughed some more. I somehow ended up holding a large, rubber duck.

"As I lay on the ground, I was very aware that I had control of what was going on, but I surrendered it for the joy. I also knew that I probably looked like an idiot. But I was willing to trade my dignity for what I was experiencing. I have a 3 month old daughter. The weird thing is, as I was laying on the floor, I knew I was somehow experiencing life the way she did. I felt like I was all spirit. It was the most spiritual thing I have ever done. Not in a religious sense, but that it was like the first time I ever prayed in tongues. I had to completely shut off my mind and just be open to what was happening to my spirit.

"Something happened there and things were broken off of me that I can't quite explain. I feel liberated in a way that I have never felt before. I even started dancing in worship. I kicked fear in the face and it felt incredible.

"I have always been a person of great peace. I carry peace and I have the ability to release it over people. God showed me that joy should be no different."

The end.

The reason I was in tears after reading Dallas' story is God radically touched this guy who wasn't even planning on being at the event. I could not have convinced Dallas to open up to joy like that, to open up to trust. I felt so affirmed by God reading Dallas' story. He was ushered into freedom and will never be the same and I don't have the ability to get him there. I do my best to paint arrows and describe the door but people ultimately have to choose to walk through it themselves. The level of impact and freedom Dallas fell into was divine; the touch of God.

May you receive an impartation from his story for God to take you into a deeper place of trust and delight in Him as you step into the future. Life is designed to be enjoyed! Grab your rubber ducky and let the river of God take you into the joy that comes from a loving Father. :)

The Future Belongs to Hope

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I'm sitting here in the bay area, about to fly out tomorrow to Minneapolis. I realized tonight how MUCH things around me are changing right now.

There is so much movement and energy surrounding me, it's fascinating. There’s been a surge in people having dreams about me, prophetic words from God for me, so timely, accurate and precious. Something is happening around me.

My first conference is happening next week, my coaching team just expanded, I'm moving to a different house in a month, I'm headed to a retreat in a cabin in the middle of nowhere tomorrow with a bunch of successful entrepreneurs, Bethel just picked up my book for the bookstore and online store, my travel schedule is robust...so much change and expansion!

In all of that glory are so many unknowns; there are so many moving parts and things beyond my control. The old, smaller version of me would not be able to handle my life today.

The old me would be so stressed out about what other people are thinking of me. Who am I to put on my own conference? Who am I to coach people? Who am I to build a TEAM of coaches? Who am I to travel and speak? Who am I to influence masses? Who am I to write books? Who am I to teach? To preach? To lead?

But thankfully the old me died, he’s gone. Like, he’s not here anymore. I’m not trying to ignore him, he isn’t available. In the Bible, Paul instructs his readers to consider themselves dead to sin. Fear and unbelief are some of the most rampant sins I encounter in people. The funny thing about considering ourselves dead to the boring, coward we thought we were...we come to realize it’s true, that person doesn’t actually exist.

Tomorrow is not promised and tomorrow is also not under our control. We don’t make our way successfully in this life by controlling anything but by trusting in the goodness God set into motion in this world. The unknown is not a threat, the unknown is FOR us. The things we don’t know and can’t control are not the enemy, they are the arena in which love is going to slay our demons our prove that our Dad is good.

Fear preys on our unknowns; twists them, perverts them. He takes the promise and the possibility out of our tomorrows and poisons them into doubts, threats and punishments. As the energy swirls around me, this momentum, I laughingly and delightfully find pleasure in the fact that tomorrow isn’t mine, and I’m so glad it’s not. Tomorrow belongs to Love; it doesn’t belong to fear, he doesn’t own this world.

Fear, you have manipulated and lied to and molested and raped and pillaged and stolen from my brothers and sisters for so long. You have ravaged my family and I want you to know that I know what you’ve done. I know your name. Your time is up. I’m going to prove that you’re a liar. I’m going to show them how fake and impotent you really are. When I’m done, they’ll see what it’s like when you’re not around. They’ll see what it’s like to forget your name; to forget you were ever here.

My brothers, my sisters, change is not the enemy. Growth, expansion, transformation, risk even, these are not the bad guys. The unknown in the mystery is the vacancy in your story in which love and goodness and hope and courage get to erupt in a glorious punch of light. Do not be afraid, it is beneath you.

You’re not here to be afraid, you’re here to realize fear isn’t real. When you pass that test, you wake up to a deeper, greater, older reality. The One Who was here first isn’t afraid and there is no fear around Him. You’re here to realize the ground you stand on was made by love. The air you breathe, the warmth you feel, the song you hear, they were put here for you to enjoy. The world you live in was designed for you to live.

The question of your safety, your significance, your acceptance, your inclusion...the question was answered. Fear lies with the idea that it wasn’t. Tomorrow belongs to hope. Give in to that energy because your home is vibing at that frequency.

Poverty is a Spirit

Growing up, I was taught that resources are limited and to come by them is expensive. Paying for things was a necessary evil in life and expense should be avoided at every opportunity. I was taught that life was against me and provision was a struggle I was constantly going to toil for.

My mom was raised by responsible, frugal parents who knew the value of delayed gratification. My dad grew up without a dad and had to work really hard to provide for his sister and himself.  

It's obvious how the idea that money is scarce came into my value system but my family didn't teach me this. My parents certainly are responsible for introducing me to the idea of lack but the real culprit who showed me all the ways scarcity was in charge wasn't a person, it was a spirit. 

Poverty.

Poverty is a spirit. Poverty tells us that there isn't enough and if we're not careful, we will be without and then we will die. When you're young and impressionable, you don't know any better. It's difficult to recognize evil, even if you can feel it, and thus not know you have permission to resist it. Another challenging thing about evil is it appears helpful when we don't know the truth.

For me, poverty helped me secure resources and ensure that I wouldn't go without. I didn't go to college after high school because I didn't know who I was and spending the exorbitant amount of money on educating myself in a direction I wasn't convinced I even wanted was not worthy of my consideration. Do I regret not going to college right away? No. But a decision informed by lack is not one I'm proud of.

God took me on a radical journey that landed me in Redding, California. A strange place with an even stranger community of believers who were so different from what I knew. I put out applications and submitted my resume to 65 different jobs in Redding before I even moved there and didn't get ONE call back. I was shocked and nervous.

By the grace of God, I moved without having a secure job in place. I had $4,000 in the bank and after two weeks in Redding, I had a serious conversation with God. I was literally afraid that I wouldn't find a job, I would run out of my hard-earned money, become homeless in Redding and then die. This is obviously irrational but there's nothing rational about believing evil.

The spirit of poverty tells you that you have to sacrifice and go without in order to get what you want. A lot of “successful people” who rose out of poverty and fought their way to a higher level of consciousness boast in their struggle and sacrifice. They take pride in the little and big ways they went without in order to gain what they deemed successful. This is still operating under poverty's influence and even their success only points to the validity of their agreement with lack. 

The thing that helped them rise out of difficult circumstances wasn't sacrifice, it was vision for something better; they believed their situation could change and hope got in their veins. It wasn't their pain or sacrifice that changed their circumstances, it was faith. The sacrifices along the way were the price they paid to maintain their agreement with hope. 

As I write this, I'm on a plane in Heathrow about to fly back to San Francisco. I missed my previous flight to Oakland the day before and wouldn't be able to fly out until the next day. The old me, still submitted to poverty, would have just spent the night at the airport to save the money. 

But I don't listen to poverty anymore. So I bought a deluxe package at a four-star hotel close to the airport which included a shuttle to and from the airport, dinner, a nice hotel suite, wifi, and breakfast in the morning. It cost £315, about $430.  

Before I left the U.S. on this trip, I wanted a certain novel to read on my flight over. I owned the book but I was in San Francisco and the book was in my home in Redding. The old me would have just counted it as a missed opportunity and moved on. But I don't listen to poverty anymore. So I bought the same book I already owned at four times the price I paid for it originally. I read it on the flight over and don’t regret it one bit.

Am I suggesting that being careless with finances and obeying our impulses is the way to go? Of course not. I'm well acquainted with sacrifice and hard work.

What I'm suggesting is lack comes from evil and agreeing with the spirit of poverty will never allow you to be who you were created to. We cannot reason or strategize while poverty has a voice in our command center. We must wake up to the reality that the kingdom is abundant. We are worthy of love and it's poverty that convinces us our well-being is inferior to our resources.  

Curbside Failure.

Written by Guest Blogger: Emily Ables

Written by Guest Blogger: Emily Ables

I felt like I failed my King yesterday.

I was feeling, not out of false humility or performance, but in a lover’s way that I had really failed Jesus.  I saw what He wanted, felt the tug in my heart, pulling me with Him and I declined.   They were this pitiful homeless couple, maybe a brother and sister.  I offered to help push the guy's wheelchair up the small slope of the curb because the girl wasn’t strong enough.  

I looked down between the handles of the chair and my stomach lurched as I saw thick quarter-sized chunks of dead skin caught in his long, greasy hair.  Both of their cheeks and necks were covered in scaly, dead skin that was flaking off like molting birds.  They were rotting.  It frightened me.  But it wasn’t their bent, frail, bodies that scared me.  What terrified me was their need.  

I began to feel this cloud moving around me, bringing innovation and creativity that often accompanies the presence of Love;  God wanted to come.  But I couldn’t give into him because it felt too expensive.  I turned to fear and begged it to shelter me.

I left them to walk quickly up the sidewalk, only to realise I had taken the long way back to my apartment.  The need had shocked me.  I may have cradled HIV positive children in the war-torn north of Uganda, been peed on by street kids in India as I cuddled them, and eaten alongside the homeless for years...the need of these two before me felt even greater.

My chin wavered as I acknowledged my fear.  I was afraid I wouldn’t be enough for them; that their need would swallow me whole, that I would try and fail.  I sabotaged the pursuit of the Father because He wanted to use me, and I didn't believe in myself or in His ability through me.  

Unbelief.

I guess I’ve thought of unbelief as standard, normal… that it’s sort of okay.  Unbelief seems like the layman's sin, so we don’t readily attack it in our lives or communities because it seems benign and unthreatening.

But unbelief is death.  Unbelief is stealing, killing and destroying.  Every sin in my life has roots connecting to a single rotten stalk: Unbelief.

Oswald Chambers said, "The root of all sin is the suspicion that God is not good."  
That is the definition of unbelief.  

Is God good?
If I know God is good, I can abdicate control and give in, because He is trustworthy.  If I believe He is good, then He has my best interest and I can forfeit my need to be right, or to fight.  

When I chose fear on the curb, I broke up with God.  He wanted to go left and I went right and rebelled.  It wasn’t that I failed because I didn't serve the poor, Religion would rap my knuckles and say I didn't do enough or give enough.  It was that God wanted to love and I declined because it looked too expensive.  I didn't believe I could afford it.

God wasn’t looking to punish me though.  He wanted to walk me home.  He wanted to be in my failure with me.

I believed a lie that I wasn't enough, that I couldn't afford to give to these two people in the way God would.  I believed He would kill me... suck me dry in pursuit of them.  I forgot that I had said yes to dying.  I forgot that He was worth it, that they were worth it, and I was as well.  The Jesus in me has an inheritance that could more than raise the dead in these two precious humans.  And so I was protecting something I never truly owned.

Love costs everything we believe we have.
If we’re wise we’ll discover He is free, and by Him gain everything.

Had I not stopped Him and hurried away, maybe I would have prayed for them.  Maybe I would have given them my money, or invited them into my home.  Love isn't a cookie cutter experience.  He's alive.   I'm not sure what might have happened there on the curb, but I do know He didn't leave me there, just like He didn't leave them.  Failure was never a possibility in my conversation with the King.    

Am I left with regret?  With shame or disappointment?  No.  
That left as I came back from hiding.   It was pushed out as I remembered that I shine and He loves it.  In the pit of my stomach I feel more attached to Him now; our connection more secure.   I don't want to stop holding His hand.

I am committing more decidedly to trust that following Love is better than security or control.  
If I stop running from, or bailing on Him, Heaven will come.  Inevitably.  It will just tumble out of my being.  I run no risk of being drained by His excursions and rabbit trails, but instead will find myself invigorated and truly alive.  

xx Emily


Emily Ables works for the team as Mike's writing intern.  Based in Redding CA, Emily is a gifted communicator and illustrator who is passionate about the discipleship of nations beginning with the UK.  She spends her days strategising ways to help Mike raise the spiritual intelligence of the planet and learning how to partner with the Truth in the most intimate arenas of life.

"Love, trust and video games."

I was sitting on the couch in the living room messing around on my laptop when one of my roommates, we'll call him John, came home. 
We chatted for a bit when I noticed the pull, like there was a black hole hidden somewhere inside of his body, silently pulling on my spirit.

I ignored it. I had been planning to go on a walk in a few minutes and if I opened that door, I knew that what was behind it would prevent me from being able to go on my walk and get to sleep at a reasonable hour.  
He sat down next to me and pulled out his laptop. 

We settled in, silently doing our own separate things for a moment when he piped up, "I had this really strong urge to play video games today."
"You did?" I asked, still tapping away at my computer.
"Yeah. I haven't played a video game in months and today, I suddenly wanted to play one really bad." 
"Interesting." I mused. I assumed his sudden desire to play video games was coming from an emotional need to feel comforted. Maybe video games was a way he used to cope with unwanted feelings. 
"What?!" He asked.
"...What?"
"You're thinking something."
"I'm not thinking anything." I lied, my hopes still on that evening stroll. I also was realizing how presumptuous my thought was, maybe he really just wanted to play video games. Why do I assume things so quickly about people?
"You looked like you had a thought." He asserted. 
"Well, there's probably a reason you want to play video games all of a sudden." I offered.
"Like what?"
I decided I would throw something out and see if he wanted to have a conversation or if he was just talking.

"I'll bet you used to play video games to drown out unwanted feelings of pain or fear or frustration or anger. Something probably happened today or the past couple of days that you need to work through."
"Hm. I can't think of anything that might have happened the past few days. Everything is pretty good actually. If something is off, I'm not aware of it." 

I wasn't deterred by his lack of awareness of his emotional state. I persisted, "You're going through BSSM First Year, things are changing and shifting. Your mind is using its creative powers to find a solution to the pain you're feeling."  
I could feel the pain he was experiencing. I pressed on- "In the past, the solution was probably video games. They are making you feel better. You're looking for comfort."

He snickered.

"What's so funny?" I challenged, taking note of his awkwardness around the word 'comfort.' 
"I don't know...it's just, that word "comfort..."
"What about it?"
"I don't know."  He confessed and got serious again, "I'm not actually sure why I'm laughing."  
"Does the word 'comfort' make you uncomfortable? We all have needs and recognizing those needs is important for us to get them met in healthy ways and live to our fullest. You think needing comfort is a sign of weakness. That it's not manly-  Comfort is for pansies and girls and children." I gave voice to the accuser in his head to validate it's not just in his head.
"Yeah..." he offered lamely.
"It's kind of a problem when you won't admit you need comfort. I mean, it's a functional role of the Holy Spirit in your life. He's The Comforter and you're not okay with being comforted. I imagine it's difficult for you to receive what God is giving you because you reject the way He comes to love you."
John's face became grave. He was beginning to feel the weight of our conversation and how close-to-home it was.
He spoke up, "Yeah, I used to be open to people. But I realized that people can give some pretty crappy advice and they're not actually listening to you, they just want to tell you what they think. So I gave people advice but they didn't really have much to give in return."

I heard what he said but I also heard, underneath all of that, in the spirit, 'I don't trust people and have elevated how I see myself in delusion because I'm so much more aware of how smart I am over what other people have to offer. I have agreed with pride and arrogance to the point where I am totally blind to the gifts and anointing of others. I'm lonely. I'm tired. I'm jaded. I'm a little scared that life kinda sucks.'

"I'm gonna throw something out there for you." I replied. "You've had some difficult experiences and been in some lame relationships. You've agreed with spirits in that place to help you interpret what's happening in the world you live in and how you're going to respond. You've partnered with spirits to help you get results you want and to protect yourself. I'm not trying to make this super spiritual but I also refuse to ignore what I see influencing what's happening. Spirits bring a perceived benefit. But you have to realize, they actually corrupt your ability to recognize reality; the truth, for what it is. They slant your perspective." 

I went on to explain the spirit of rejection as an example. I explained how a spirit of rejection speaks to us, how it affects us and how it affects other people around us when we agree with it. I could tell he was identifying with the symptoms I laid out, this spirit was all too familiar to him.
I continued, "The aim of these spirits is to destroy you, to steal from you, to rip you off. It sucks."
"Yeah, I've noticed with my mom, there are times where she'll say or do something and I feel all of these emotions that I'm not proud of but I can't help it. The truth is, I love my mom and I want to get better at loving her. But sometimes she just drives me nuts. While you were saying all of that, a memory with my mom kept coming up in my mind." He ended up explaining a situation when he was fourteen with him and his mom. She didn't respond to his vulnerability and creativity like he had anticipated and he was devastated. 
As soon as I heard this part, I knew it was time for things to escalate, simply conversing wasn't enough anymore, it was time to address the spiritual powers at work in John's life.  
"Hey, the good news is, we can do something about this. If you're up for it, I can pray with you and we can take care of some of this. That memory is probably coming up because God wants to do something about it. Sometimes God rewrites our past and gives us His perspective on what happened rather than what we took away from a specific memory through the lens of pain or fear."  (I refrained from using the word 'sozo' so as not to elicit any undue fear or walls.) 
"Okay." He agreed.
"Your life is about to change...you're welcome."  I said with a smile. "You're going to be the barometer. I'm going to look to you to tell me what's going on inside. What you're thinking or feeling. You're going to think things that aren't actually coming from you, but they're going to use a voice you've assumed is yours. They don't like what's about to happen. They're probably going to try and subvert me in your mind. Thoughts sounding like, 'this is ridiculous, none of this is real, Mike's crazy.' Just pay attention to that stuff and keep me in the loop."
"Okay." He laughed nervously but I could tell he was beginning to put faith in what I was telling him.

I asked God to take John back to that memory with his mom. He did. I led John through some prayer and had him repeat some statements after me. "Your confession is powerful in your own life." I explained. 

Though we did directly address a few things that came up, he seemed in his head and remained unaffected. Sensing his disconnection had me concerned, "Maybe I missed it...maybe he's not actually ready to deal with any of this. Maybe he doesn't trust me. Maybe he isn't comfortable enough to actually feel anything." I reasoned in my mind. 

I persisted, asking Him what God was now saying. 

John responded, "God said, 'The reason you're mad at your mom, John, is because you've distanced yourself from her and have only looked at her as your enemy. You've only thought about how she hasn't measured up and didn't realize the things she was dealing with."  
The accusation and condemnation in this voice surprised me, "That's not God." I thought. 

So I put my hand on his back, "God, thank you that John has ears to hear you. Any spirit not of God, I command you to be quiet in the name of Jesus. Father, would you speak to Him in the silence?" 
We went at it again. John seemed a little more hesitant this time. He had a vision of his mom as a child. She reminded him of his niece, whom he loves dearly. He explained to me hesitantly how God saw his mom. 

It was then that the conversation veered to his relationship with his grandma. He was very angry with her. We stopped praying for a bit and just talked. He explained some things about his grandma. He had so much anger and resentment towards her. He cussed a couple times and we prayed. I was still unconvinced that we were getting anywhere. His demeanor remained mechanical, but at least the content of his thoughts and feelings began to become more colorful.

I had him forgive his grandma, speaking to her directly. I would first specify things for him to repeat after me that he was forgiving her for. Then I left it up to him- "Grandma, I forgive you for...now you fill in the blank..." 

Then it hit.
He started to list the things he was forgiving her for and the tears started to flow. He persisted through the pain and embarrassment, releasing his grandma of things he had held against her for years, even from his childhood. Tears and now snot. They ran together down the end of his  nose. I grabbed a towel near us and handed it to him.  

For five minutes my roommate continued to suck out the poison from his heart towards his grandma. The tears came so intensely, he had to stop at times because of how overcome he was. And I just sat there, rubbing his back, affirming his choice to be brave. 

"Okay." He said finally, exhaling, "I think I'm good."
"Okay, do you think we could talk to another person now?" I asked.
"Who?"
"I want you to forgive your mom. Could you do that or are you spent?"
"I'm spent." He said.
"Okay. There's one person I want you to forgive before we're done here."
"Who?"
"You."

And as if on cue, a fresh exchange with God began. More tears and sobs erupted out of John and I could only respond with "Wow" and "Whoa" as I caught parts of their sweet conversation. 

As John was going through this intense experience, I found myself laughing inside. I could have pulled the plug so many times earlier in our conversation. God had trained and equipped me for moments like this and I was glad that I stuck it out with Him. This guy's life was changing before my very eyes and I got to be part of what God was doing there. What a privilege. At some point, I became effective at showing a person the way out of their anger and nightmare's. I could show them the door to truth and freedom. The gifts God gave me were able to lead this son into His heart, and that was humbling.

What a cool experience. 

I looked into John's bloodshot eyes as we wrapped up and shrugged, "All that from wanting to play video games."

We both chuckled.

Spirits in the Theater

Growing up in the Church, my family was always “that family.” We were the spiritual, weird people. Our family history is ridded with intense, bizarre stories and experiences of our spiritual gifts manifesting in peculiar ways.

I’ve alway been an intuitive person, I’m really sensitive to other people’s spiritual atmospheres. In my community, people with this type of spiritual sensitivity are called “feelers.” Going to the movies is a journey for me. When a story is being told, it evokes emotions by the viewers/listeners. Story stimulates people’s judgments and their spiritual agreements. When those agreements are engaged, they emit frequencies into the spiritual realm. I pick up on those frequencies whether I mean to or not.  I usually have to get alone after going to a movie to sort through the residue; I try to embrace what feelings I experienced during the movie that were mine and disconnect from the ones that were not.

Last year, my mom and I went to see the new Star Wars movie, “The Force Awakens.” Epic adventure, destiny, supernatural abilities, a hero’s journey, what a fun movie! Like any movie theater experience, emotions and desires were swirling around in the room. As the credits rolled, I became aware of the aftermath weighing on my chest and soul, I started shutting down emotionally. My mom wanted to celebrate the experience and kept talking about how much fun the movie was. I tried celebrating with her but I did not feel safe to express myself in that space. If I carelessly express my thoughts and opinions while the presence of unwanted spiritual influences are on me, I can easily and accidentally agree with an evil spirit (like fear, rejection, insignificance, etc.,) and give it permission to mess with me.

We left the movie theater and I went to the bathroom. This was a mistake. There was a long line of men and young boys who had just seen the movie with me. The atmosphere in the bathroom was poignant. All of the wishful jedi knights and rebel pilots waited their turn in a line wafting of disappointment and sobriety.

They had just had a thrilling ride and now they were on the crash back to reality where the boring details of their “ordinary, insignificant life” were coming back into focus, clinging to their existence like a parasite. I hated being there, it felt terrible. It felt like something was clawing at my soul, trying to get in, something I didn’t even want to touch me; something unclean and sinister. I left as soon as I could and found my mom in the lobby talking to a storm trooper.

“Take our picture!” She cheered and handed me her phone.

*Sigh “Okay…” I replied obligatorily.

I realized in that moment, my attitude did not line up with what was happening. “She’s allowed to be excited, she’s allowed to have fun. What is my problem?” I thought to myself. I had been having this conversation with myself concerning my mom...my whole life. This wasn’t a new process for me. But this time, I was way more aware and conscious of these dynamics than I had ever been. 

I had undergone years of wrestling with this in my relationship with my mother, countless experiences of being embarrassed by her, feeling threatened by her jubilant disposition, feeling resentful for her perceived carelessness and lack of regard for my feelings. I came across broody and angsty because of the clash of our experiences.

We got in the car, with a thirty minute drive ahead of us until we got home. She kept bringing up different aspects of the movie she loved and I kept giving her half-hearted responses, grimacing as I forced myself to try and emote. Finally, at a stop light, I looked out the window and confessed, “Mom, I’m sorry, I’m not going to be able to talk about the movie right now. There was a lot going on in that room and it doesn’t feel safe for me to express myself right now.”

“Oh, okay.” She said, surprised. “What was going on in the room?”

“All of this fantasy and then disappointment, it was intense. I have to sort through what I’m feeling later to find my own emotions.”

“Wow, our giftings are very different.”

“Hahaha!!! THAT’S your response to me right now?”

“Yeah, I just had a good time!”

It was in this moment that I realized a very specific dynamic in my relationship with my mom that I never understood before. She couldn’t feel all of the swarming emotions and desires, she was just watching a movie. So many times, I felt like she was pushing me into a spotlight I wasn’t ready to be under. She would try to connect emotionally and I would interpret her pursuit as selfish, careless and unsafe. Perhaps my mom wasn’t as delinquent as I had thought growing up.

I never realized our spiritual gifts largely impacted the way we experienced each other, I was amazed at this realization. I wondered how many other parent-child dynamics were strained or confusing because they didn’t understand how each other’s spiritual gifts functioned in them. By recognizing and understanding how we operate on a spiritual level, we actually get to pave the way to mutual respect, trust and an effective exchange of love. I daresay this isn’t just an opportunity, it’s a necessity.