This Present Darkness

Joyful Prayer
To what may I compare our current world situation?

Some years ago, my friend Janie and I landed at the Birmingham International Airport—about an hour’s drive from my home—returning from a ministry trip to Sweden. It was night and we were tired from the very long flight.

We collected our baggage and my car, and began the drive home along a busy interstate highway. As we traveled, a motorcyclist zoomed around us, traveling well over the speed limit. We all were speeding along, to be honest, but he left us behind, weaving recklessly between vehicles. A short time later, we passed him, or what was left of him, a smear on the interstate, chunks of wreckage strewn along the road. The sight was like a slap in my face.

Shaking from the tangible shock that lingered in the atmosphere, I cried out to my friend, “Janie! He wrecked! I think he’s dead!”

Rather than joining me in my distress, she smiled calmly and said, “Let’s pray in the spirit.” And she proceeded to do so, praying in her prayer language.

But but but …” I stuttered.“Just pray,” she urged. So I did, pushing past my reluctance to focus on something other than the horror my eyes had seen. As I joined her in prayer, the presence of heaven came down, wrapping us in a peaceful serenity that cannot be described, only experienced.

Yesterday, I found myself focused on the uncertainties—the “what could happen ifs.” I didn’t think to simply pray in my prayer language. I wrestled with my fears instead. When it finally occurred to me that I could pray with my spirit instead of trying to figure it out with my mind, I did pray and the wisdom of God broke through the constant static of this present darkness. His peace surrounded me. I was able to relax.

My point is this: Our world looks a lot like that motorcycle wreck. It’s difficult not to focus on the horror. But the Lord is calling us to focus on Him instead. Let’s pray for a move of God like never before. And let’s fix our eyes on the Lord like never before.

let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9

I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. 1 Corinthians 14:15

Blessings and hugs,
Susan

Please call 205.556.4555 and leave a message. We are happy to answer questions or schedule prayer ministry, but because of robo calls, we ask that you leave a message or schedule a call time by emailing thepool@thepoolministries.org. We will call you back.

We have a new website. It is still being updated, but please take a look at http://www.thepoolministries.org.

Stuff is Happening Poolside

This is just to catch everyone up on what is going on with The Pool. No amazing insights this time around lol.

First, Sam and I have been teaching a course called How to Hear God’s Voice. The purpose of the course is to activate the believer’s ability to hear God and to introduce the many ways that God speaks. Our plan is to continue to teach this course along with some others onsite, but to also make videos and written curriculum available eventually. Prayers are appreciated.

Second, we have a new website. Please go visit and let me know what you think. The address is http://www.thepoolministries.org.

The second edition of Sam’s book, My Birding Adventures with God, is available at Barnes & Noble. Just follow this link to take a look. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-birding-adventures-with-god-sam-bowman/1127353916?ean=9781733916585.

Shipping is free. If you like the book, please leave a review.

And last, but most important to me, is this: My new book, The Quiet Heart, will be available after the new year in both paperback and eBook formats.

Hugs to you all and blessings upon your holiday season.

Susan

Call us at 205.556.4555 (Leave a message. I will call you back. We don’t answer unscheduled calls because of robo calls. You may schedule a call via email).

Please feel free to email me at thepool@thepoolministries.org

If this ministry has blessed you, consider visiting the website to donate.
http://www.thepoolministries.org

Hope for a Broken World

My husband Sam and I are teaching a course called How to Hear God’s Voice. The past classes have covered hearing God in our thoughts. To activate this ability, students ask the Lord a question of their choice and wait quietly for an answer. Then they write what they hear or see in response to their question.

Heather Baker, one of the students who is also a part of The Pool Ministries, asked the following question and the answer was so encouraging, I wanted to share what she received from the Lord.

Question: Lord, why is the world so broken?

Answer: Beloved child, my heart weeps for the brokenness and pain of my children. This devastation was never my plan or design, but a path that was chosen out of innocence at the beginning of time, when choice was gifted to my creation. But just because something is broken does not mean it has no value, no redemption, no healing, no restoration. What is at work here will shine brighter than all the stars in the heavens, and will be the crowning jewel of my creation. Look on in hope, for what is lost will be found, and what is broken will be made new. All of the pain, devastation, and sorrow will be redeemed and made beautiful beyond anything you can imagine

.… He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, even the veil which is stretched over all nations. He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, and He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken. And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:8-9

If you have someone willing to read the word and the scripture out loud to you, please ask them to do so.

Hugs to you all.
Susan

205.556.4555 (Leave a message. I will call you back. We don’t answer unscheduled calls because of robo calls. You may schedule a call or prayer session via email).

Please send your email to thepool@thepoolministries.org

If this ministry has blessed you, please consider visiting the website to donate.
http://www.thepoolministries.org

Those Fancy Fig Leaves

The “Smarter Than You” Spirit
I’m one of those fortunate/unfortunate people who had the privilege/horror of attending graduate school as a brand-new, spirit-filled (in the traditional sense that I experienced an encounter with the Holy Spirit subsequent to my born-again experience and emerged speaking in tongues) Christian.

Shortly thereafter I was accepted into a graduate-level program at a university. Little did I know that the campus was saturated in the “Smarter Than You” spirit. Or perhaps you know it as the dog-eat-dog spirit which can manifest in environments other than academia, but academia was the place I first recognized it.

Because I was very vocal about my beautiful God and completely lacking in wisdom, my classmates and some of my instructors made me a target to mock.

But the very thing they mocked turned into my shield because I didn’t care one bit if someone was smarter than me. I just wanted everyone—and I mean everyone—to know about my wonderful Jesus.

From this seat in heavenly places I was able to observe how desperately, and often viciously, the campus population competed for the prize of being the smartest. Now, the competition I watched was mostly confined to faculty and graduate students. The staff were viewed as peasants and, thus beneath notice, while the administrators were powerful but considered unimportant.

What did I learn? That the ones so desperately competing were deeply insecure about their value; that they were terrified of appearing stupid; that they were willing to do “whatever it takes” to hide their vulnerability even if it meant partnering with a predator spirit that devoured anyone deemed weak.

Did you know that we inherit fallen behaviors from our ancient parents Adam and Eve? This means that blame shifting comes easily to us. Another automatic fallen behavior is hiding our true selves because we believe that we are shamefully naked and unacceptable.

What that boils down to is this: All the competing and showing off, all the despising another person and thinking ourselves better, smarter, richer and prettier equals fig leaves. My fellow grad students and the faculty were competing over who wore the fanciest fig leaves. Pretty dumb, huh?

Disclaimer: Not everyone competed. Some fought against it and were very kind. But I think everyone was affected by it. Those who were basically secure often felt despised by their peers. Others felt compelled to prove their worth.

Here are some clues that you are discerning the presence of that dog-eat-dog “Smarter Than You” predator spirit.

Do you feel compelled to prove to others that you are smart? Really, really smart?
Do you feel compelled to make others feel stupid?
Do you feel stupid and insecure around certain people, but otherwise feel ok?
Do you feel haunted by feelings of insecurity in certain environments?
Have you fallen into the habit of measuring your worth against the accomplishments of others?

I don’t have a solution for this problem other than this. Bring it before the Lord.

If you are keeping yourself safe by being smart and smarter than everyone else, for goodness sake repent! And ask the Lord to heal your broken heart and to heal the people that you have hurt.

If you are simply discerning this kind of spirit and not in agreement with it, you will feel bad about yourself as if you just don’t measure up. Of course, you may have unresolved hurts in your heart, but those hurts are amplified by this kind of spirit. The problem is a predator spirit—not you.

Ask the Lord how to pray. Ask him to reveal any unresolved hurts that need his touch. And ask for the courage and wisdom to be who you really are without getting caught up in the competition over whose fig leaves are the most dazzling.

These are the only words Jesus used to described his nature (that I have found).
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

Be gentle and humble in heart. Hugs!

Susan
205.556.4555 (Leave a message. I will call you back. We don’t answer unscheduled calls because of robo calls. You may schedule a call via email).

Thank you for your many emails. Makes me feel loved. (Most of them do lol) Keep ’em coming. thepool@thepoolministries.org

If this ministry has blessed you, please consider visiting the website to donate.
http://www.thepoolministries.org

Spells, Curses and Bitter Words

I have been struggling with chronic headaches and achy sinuses (that hadn’t become bad enough to seek medical help but wouldn’t go away) for a while now. Yes. I have tried the home remedies. No. They haven’t helped. I have felt tired but restless. Guilty about not being productive, but too heavy and fuzzy to be productive.

“So what,” I asked the Lord, “is going on?”
His answer came when I was sleeping: Witchcraft.

A lot has been taught on the subject of witchcraft, some of which has dumbed it down in my opinion. I don’t think Christians praying controlling prayers is witchcraft in its true sense. I think that is the behavior of unbelieving believers, often well-meaning, who struggle with doubt and fear.

I’m talking about intentional witchcraft that involves casting spells and curses with the intent to do harm. Witches, warlocks, Satanists and Luciferians (and only God knows what other groups) actively view Christians as their enemies. As a prayer minister, I have had two Satanic cult members sent to me at different times in the guise of needy people seeking prayer ministry. When the Lord uncovered their true motive, they abruptly stopped their sessions. Which was very sad since both of them appeared to have been groomed from childhood to be tools in the hands of people truly given over to evil.

My point is this: They were sent to destroy my ministry if possible.

Spells, curses and even bitter words are being sent against God’s people—especially the intercessors, ministers and those deeply committed to the Lord—to discourage them, to make it too hard to pray, too hard to continue the good fight of faith.

Evil spirits have no authority, having been stripped by Jesus (Colossians 2:5). So one way they attack is by attaching to the words humans speak, claiming that because a human wants to hurt you that commissions them to carry out the human’s wishes.

But the truth is this: That another human wants to harm you does NOT give demons a legal right to attack you. (I question any legal right claimed by the devil since he is a criminal himself.) We, as the children of God, are not subject to demons or to people who partner with demons. Look at Luke 10:17-19.

The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

Demons are subject to us. Even if a human being orders an evil spirit to harm you, you are not subject to that. Now, there is nothing we can do about a person choosing to use their free will to hate, criticize, judge and curse. But we can stop the demons from piggy backing on it. Persons who hate without demons attached are annoying but generally harmless.

Now there are levels of cursing, ranging from the bitter words of grumbling, disgruntle people to systemic and ritualized cursing and spell casting. Both are handled the same way.

(You might want to print this out for future reference. Also, please share it with your friends).

First: Tell any and all demons partnering with any human words spoken against you, your family, your prayers, your ministry or anything that your life touches that they are not allowed to attack. In other words, tell them no.
Like this: “Demons. You will not use the words of humans to hurt me or anything my life touches. In the name of Jesus, I forbid it.”

Second: Once you have forbidden the attacks, sever the partnership between human and demonic.
Like this: “I forbid any demon from partnering with any human to harm me or anything my life touches.”

Third: Commission your angels to go forth and destroy all such partnerships.
Like this: “Angels. I commission you to destroy all human and demonic partnerships that have formed in order to harm me or anything my life touches. I send you forth in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Fourth: Break assignments.
Like this: “I break all demonic assignments against me and anything my life touches in the name of Jesus. I reassign all demons to the feet of Jesus. Angels, take them there now.”

Fifth: Send the curses to the cross.
Like this: “I send all curses to the cross of Christ to be destroyed.”

Last: Clean up.
Like this: “Lord, please cleanse me and mine from all demonic defilement and remove any demonic devices that have been placed on us. I ask in the mighty name of Lord Jesus.”

I think that covers it. Demons do just as much as we allow. And sadly, we allow too much.

Oh! My headaches are gone. My sinuses are better. And you can see that I am able to be productive again.

Many blessings to you! And I exhort you to be joyful! The devil hates joy 🙂

Susan
205.556.4555
(Leave a message. I will call you back. We don’t answer unscheduled calls because of spammers. You may schedule a call via email).

Send me your emails. I love getting them.
thepool@thepoolministries.org

If this ministry has blessed you, please consider visiting the website to donate.
http://www.thepoolministries.org

It is NOT too late. Honest.

Here is a shift in perspective for you. A shift that powers down a particular attack of the evil one. First, how many of you have had distressing thoughts about time running out? How many of you have agonized over the thought that you are too old and its too late in life for you to be useful in the kingdom of God? How many of you are sad because you desperately wish that the truth you understand now is something you had understood back then (when you were younger)?You can put your hands down.

Here is what the enemy is up to. He is pressing your buttons in order to get a painful emotional response from you: disappointment, regret, anger, self-hatred, shame and so on. Why does he bother pushing your buttons? He wants to suck down the life energy that flows from your heart when you are miserable (Proverbs 4:23).This “energy”—for lack of a less New Agey word—has been measured by scientists who call themselves neurocardiologists. Neurocardiologists call this negative energy emitted by the heart when a person feels upset a discordant heart sine. Let me suggest that this energy is what the adversary is seeking to devour. Consider that he is cut off from the life of God and stripped of all power. From where does he get life and power?

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

These same neurocardiologists call the harmonious heart beat that results when a person is at peace or grateful or in awe of something amazing and beautiful a coherent heart sine.

I have set the Lord continually before me … Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices. Psalm 16:8-9

Let me suggest that the evil one is NOT able to prey upon the positive energy produced by a heart at peace. What does this have to do with the painful belief that the time you have left on earth is too little and too late? Let me answer that question.

Such thoughts about the meaning and purpose of your life being over are not God’s thoughts. They are a ruse by the devil to produce in you the distressing emotions that result in negative energy.

This prophecy came forth in Little Church a few meetings back. The one prophesying saw an old car on the side of the road and buried in weeds. From the look of things, this car was never going to be useful again, but then the motor roared to life (after a few cranks of the key) and a tow truck with a huge hook arrived and pulled that old car back onto the road. Here is the gist of the words prophesized:

You thought it was over. That you have been sidelined because you are old and useless, but that is not true. This car may be an Old-s-mobile, that was abandoned on the side of the road, but now it is a priceless antique, a showpiece, restored and ready to go.Don’t be fooled by that roaring lion. God knew from the beginning the course of your life. If you have a day left on this earth, rejoice and follow the Lord. If you have 60 years left, rejoice and follow the Lord. Don’t let time sit on the throne of your life.

Let’s pray: 
Father, God, Creator of heaven and earth and time. Forgive me for listening to the lies of the devil. He tricked me into focusing on time instead of You. Whatever time on earth I have left Lord, doesn’t matter. Help me follow You. In the beautiful and majestic name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray.

(To learn more about Neurocardiology and the research that supports their findings, go to https://www.heartmath.org/research/science-of-the-heart/details/).

Hugs and blessings, 
Susan
205.556.4555 (Leave a message. I will call you back. We don’t answer unscheduled calls because of spammers).

Send me your emails.
thepool@thepoolministries.org 
I love getting them.

If this ministry has blessed you, please consider visiting the website to donate. 
http://www.thepoolministries.org

Can You Love God & Be Really Mad At Him Too?

Asking for a friend

So, here is the question. Can I love God and be really mad at Him too? Is it even safe to voice that question out loud where other Christians can hear me? Since it probably isn’t safe to voice that question, let me qualify it by explaining the kind of rage I am talking about. I am NOT talking about the rage of an infant left squalling in a crib for too long. If you are an infant, you should feel rage when your needs are not met in a loving and appropriate way. Screaming your lungs out because your needs are being ignored is age-appropriate behavior when you are little.

It is not age-appropriate behavior when you are 40. At some point in your adult life, God expects you to get out of the crib and use that free will of yours to make some maturity choices. It is good for you. Immature anger misdirected toward God is not good for you and is not what I am writing about.

I am writing about believers who find themselves in a desperate situation. Those of us with a sick child; those who are desperately lonely; those who can’t conceive or carry a pregnancy to term; those with a crazy spouse or chronic illness. I am writing about believers who have worked hard to mature; who have stood in faith; who are willing to do whatever God asks them to do, because they LOVE Him.

Feeling like you have gotten a raw deal—one that God could resolve easily if He would just do so—isn’t a comfortable place to be. If you are like me, connecting and reflecting upon those strong emotions feels very unsafe. Especially if you have distanced yourself from the ugly, angry you. Especially if you believe that the ugly, angry you isn’t acceptable to God; that the ugly, angry you is the reason God isn’t answering your prayers and, thus, must go far, far away.

I had a weird dream recently. I’m pretty good at interpreting other people’s dreams but terrible at understanding my own. And the icing on that cake is this: none of my friends and family are able to interpret my dreams either. If I get an interpretation, it is from God or I get nothing. Not sure I want to examine the why on that, but there it is.

So, I had one of my let’s-baffle-everyone dreams. Let me give you some context. Sam and I used to own a children’s entertainment business. As part of that business, we offered high-quality princess and super-hero characters for parties and events. I was completely obsessed with providing the most amazing characters and experience possible.

Here’s the dream. Sam was in the background putting tremendous pressure on me to costume myself as Beauty from Beauty and the Beast in order to entertain at a children’s party. Setting aside the fact that I am in my 60s, even on my best days I do not look anything like a Disney princess. But I felt compelled to comply with his demands, even though I knew I would be a disappointment no matter how I tried to convince myself that I could fool the kids. But I HAD to perform. On top of that, I was late and the arts and crafts were not ready.

Typing that out makes me realize that a dream could not be more obvious; nonetheless, it was days before the Lord explained the dream. Hidden within my heart was the belief that He required me to be the perfect princess in every way before He would heal my son. Since I believed that, I had sent away the “not princess” part of me, the angry and frustrated me, the mad-at-God me that I thought had to go because “she” didn’t have faith.

Let me be clear that nothing I do will ever make me into princess material. (Here is where everyone reading this agrees with me lol). All my efforts to hide my anger and frustration from God; all my efforts to become the perfect believer did not trick God into answering my desperate prayer. As a matter of fact, my crazy just got in His way.

Are you twisting yourself into a perfect YOU in order to get your prayers answered? Might as well stop, dear one. It doesn’t work and isn’t required by God. Here is why it doesn’t work as I understand it.

You and I will never become perfect enough to deserve God’s blessings. We will never be a good-enough Christian. It just isn’t possible and that is OK, because our savior Jesus is perfect and we are in Him (Colossians 3:3). AND (take a deep breath) God’s blessings are not earned.

Look at these scriptures:

Freely you received, freely give. Matthew 10:8

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Romans 8:32

we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God … 1 Corinthians 2:12

Don’t be like me! God’s blessings are free! Stop trying to earn them by putting aside your honestly confused and frustrated self. Instead, I want you to embrace that part of you. If anyone needs love and acceptance, it’s the ugly you.

Oh! One more scene from the dream. I kept looking into the mirror, thinking I don’t look like a princess, but at the same time I looked better than I expected. Maybe the ugly me is really the hurt and scared me? Maybe I just need a hug.

So, don’t bother twisting yourself into a prince or princess. It DOESN’T work and actually gets in the way of God’s blessings. Why? Because bribing God with good behavior is actually manipulation. I think the Lord wants to answer our prayers, especially our most desperate ones, but if He responds to our manipulation (no matter how unconscious), we will come away believing that our manipulation got our prayers answered. We would probably teach other people how to manipulate God into answering their prayers.

(I am NOT saying be bad! I’m saying be real, be honest and let that grow into an intimate relationship with God. Godly behavior will flow from that).

So, let me answer my question: Yes. I think you can love God and be really mad at Him. I think it is OK, because the truth sets you free. So hug tight the ugly you that is angry and have an honest talk with God. I have done it and it makes things better.

and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. John 8:32

Hugs and blessings, 
Susan
205.556.4555
(Leave a message. I will call you back. We don’t answer unscheduled calls because of spammers).
Send me your emails thepool@thepoolministries.org
I love getting them.
If this ministry has blessed you, please consider visiting the website to donate. 
http://www.thepoolministries.org