What Every Christian Needs to Know About Spiritual Realms

What’s at the deep of your core? As a life coach, I help my clients focus on what God put inside of them as part of His design. This same God that breathed out stars, breathed life into you. Yet, it seems so many know so little about the true nature of God, themselves, and God’s design for their life.

Where does one start when one wants to get started? The basics. Understanding the two realms that exist and how we tap into them. You’re familiar with the earthly realm, but how much do you know of or live in the spiritual realm? As children of God, we should live in both, but you can only hang out with God by having the key to the spiritual realm.

World Realms

God created two realms: God’s Kingdom (spiritual) and Earth (physical). Before the Fall (original Sin), Adam and Eve walked and talked daily with God in the Garden of Eden. Both were in the spiritual realm; all was perfect as it is in Heaven.

God’s Children

God made humans in His image, but we are comprised of three parts as we live on earth:

  • Body (earth suit)
  • Soul (mind, emotions, will)
  • Spirit (heart)

The Fall created separation between God and us. After the bite of the fruit from the Tree of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve hid from God. They no longer were allowed to enjoy the fruits of the spiritual realm, as they were no longer one with God. The Spirit connection was broken.  

Although Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden to live out the consequences of their sin, God had a design to spiritually reconcile Him with humanity through the blood of Jesus Christ. By the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus, people can choose by their free will to believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

If you so believe in your heart, the Holy Spirit will connect your heart with the Father, so you can walk in the spiritual realm. When Jesus left the earth to return at some appointed time in the future, He left us with the gift of the Holy Spirit (a helper) to help guide and support us while we live in this earthly world.  

Our physical body and soul cannot access the spiritual realm, only our heart spirit. Satan doesn’t have access to your heart spirit if you are a Christ believer. However, the devil and his demonic minions can attack your body and soul, and they do their best to distract and separate us from God and his design for our life.

Christian Spirituality

Unfortunately, many Christians only have head knowledge and not heart knowledge of Jesus and God. They’ve never communed with God in the Spirit. The devil rejoices if he can keep you out of the spirit.

In some circles, you may hear that many Christians are 18 inches from salvation: the average distance between a person’s head and heart. Others say you can get into heaven based on a mind commitment but beware Judgement Day with the Father.

The more I try to talk and walk with God, the stronger my personal relationship with Him grows. I live in this world, but I don’t want to be of this world. And yes, the devil tempts and does his darndest to distract me.

How to Connect with the Spirit

Your soul can help you connect with your spirit through the renewing of your mind. Read the Bible (even small passages), reflect, and implement the Word. Pray. These actions help you focus on connecting with God through the Holy Spirit and hearing God’s voice. Mediate, quiet your mind, listen for God’s messages, and wait for God’s visions.

Forgive others, so unforgiveness doesn’t poison your heart. I believe God looks at unforgiveness as the greatest sin. Why? Because Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice was dying on the cross to forgive us our sins. If we won’t do so for others, when we have been gifted ultimate grace, we truly don’t know the heart of our Father.  

Role of the Church

Since many pastors don’t preach on the spiritual realm, they don’t cover these building blocks and how we can connect spiritually connect with God. If you don’t get these concepts, you won’t understand how the spiritual realm and earthly battlefields interact and how demons work against you in discovering and living out God’s design for your life.

Christianity is the expression of a personal relationship with God in the spiritual realm. Religion is only man’s interpretation of God’s Kingdom on earth carried out through a set of rules. If you’ve never experienced God in the spiritual realm, you’ll likely believe Christianity is a bunch of “do good” rules to follow.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to find their purpose, be the heroes of their own life stories, and help them be a shining light in this spiritually dark world. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as you coach by reaching out to her at shinecrossings@gmail.com

How I Forgave and Found Freedom

Part 3 of 3-Part Series

Why Forgive and How to Forgive provide the foundation to build our stories of forgiveness. My prayer for you is that you find peace in your self-gift of forgiveness toward another person regardless of how severe the sin. I know people who have horrendous stories that include mutilation, sex abuse, abandonment, and even murder. Although my own personal history touches on some of these and the process of forgiveness, I share my story of freedom that started in November 2010, when I met my current husband over breakfast after his mother connected us through Match.com. That, in itself, is its own crazy God story.

My Story

Darin and I became fast friends, keeping it friendly, after I learned over our first breakfast that he was separated, living on his own, and a few months from finalizing his divorce. He had two daughters, one 19 years who was already away at college and the other, 13-year old Sarah*, who primarily lived with her mother.

We kept a low public profile in friendship, even when the relationship eventually turned to dating. Unfortunately, Darin’s ex-wife struggled with mental health issues which spilled over into her sharing raging falsehoods about Darin and me to Sarah and anyone else who would listen. Darin was forced to create two separate lives in order to enjoy the company of two important women in his life. Well after the divorce Sarah still refused to meet me.

Darin continually encouraged Sarah to meet me since he knew at some point our courtship would lead to marriage. She in return refused with no explanation. Darin’s bribery and cajoling had no influence in changing Sarah’s mind. I occasionally wrote letters of encouragement and among other points let her know she was always welcome. I didn’t want her to feel reluctant in reaching out in the future, because she felt embarrassed by her past behavior.

Eventually, I accepted Jesus as my personal savior, and Darin and I believed God brought us together for Kingdom work on earth. Our relationship strengthened in love and mission while Sarah continued to dig in her heels—refusing to meet me. As time passed, I can honestly admit I increasingly felt frustrated and disrespected as well as developed ill feelings toward Sarah as well as her mother who had contributed in creating this sour situation.

After 2 years, Darin told Sarah he was going to propose marriage by the next time she saw him. At the time Darin didn’t know that this would be the last day Sarah chose to see her father for several years. I felt more hurt and disrespected which was magnified by the pain I saw in Darin as he struggled with his daughter’s choice. It’s been 10 years since Darin and I met, and I have yet to have a conversation with Sarah.

By the eighth year, I was angry at Sarah—to the point that I hoped she never took me up on my open-door offer. My heart was hardened, I didn’t feel generous in spirit, and I admit that unforgiveness got a foothold. I didn’t wish her harm in any way, but neither did I wish good things for her. That was the ugly truth. My natural heart is always wanting the best for people—afterall, that’s why I became a life coach. I didn’t like the way my unforgiving thoughts made me feel about myself.

My Story – The Act of Forgiveness

I knew that I had to forgive Sarah—not that she was asking for it—but so I could be free of these negative feelings toward Sarah. I know how hard it is. Half of me was feeling hurt and justified based on how Sarah was treating me. The other half of me knew that my feelings were clashing with my Christian values and putting a degree of separation with God. I knew forgiving Sarah was 100% within my control, independent of what Sarah did or didn’t do, and was a gift to myself—albeit a hard gift to receive.

I sat quietly with God, asking Him to help me with a forgiving mindset and confessing my sin of unforgiveness. I forgave Sarah for any ill-will, attitude, and behaviors toward me. “I forgive you, Sarah, for … I pray that God blesses you by …” [details intentionally omitted]. I kept repeating the words aloud, giving the words power. The more I forgave Sarah, the more peace I found. I had to repeat my words over and over to push out the demonic influences.

We live in a fallen world, so the Devil will continue to plant seeds that disconnect us from people with unforgiveness and thus causing greater separation with God. I admit that as time moves forward and nothing changes with Sarah, there’s a propensity for negative thoughts to slowly creep in. When they do, I immediately turn toward God and give it back to him. That’s how I keep my freedom in forgiveness. When I go to Jesus, give it to Him, and ask him to replace it, He does. Thank you, Jesus.

Who Do You Need to Forgive?

Who do you need to forgive? When will you do it? I suggest you do it now. Don’t let one more minute, hour, or day go by holding onto the pain and separation from God. Ask spiritual help from the one who knows all and is always in control. Would love to hear your story of forgiveness. If you’d like to share it with someone, send me an email at shinecrossings@gmail.com.

*Named changed to protect her identity.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

How to Forgive? It’s Hard, And It’s for You

Part 2 of 3-Part Series

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18: 21-22). Wow, that’s a heavy burden. From our human perspective, it just doesn’t seem fair, does it? Someone sins against you 77 times, and Jesus tells you to forgive them every time. On the surface it might seem unreasonable, yet when Jesus commands this, He’s looking out for YOUR best interest.

Forgiveness: It’s Your Gift

When you deeply explore the “why” behind Matthew 18: 21-22, you’ll come to realize the benefit isn’t for the person receiving forgiveness but for you. Forgiveness doesn’t help the sinner; instead, it helps the one who was sinned against. When you hold onto your pain, it only hurts you. Jesus wants you to be free from the hurt, so he is commanding you to forgive as many times as is necessary so that you can be set free.

Why Forgive

Why Forgive? We forgive to be MOST like Jesus. His last and most important human act was to be the sacrificial lamb and take our sin when we stand before God in judgment. Forgiveness can be challenging, especially when those, who’ve sinned against us, won’t even ask for it. How can we more easily forgive and set ourselves free of our hurt?

Forgiveness is not dependent in any way on another person. You are 100% in control. Forgiveness is not predicated on whether someone asks for forgiveness. Your forgiveness is simply a choice that releases your pain—an intentional surrender to your own negative emotions and hurt.

Setting the Stage for Forgiveness: Your Belief System

Forgiveness comes more easily when you believe the 4 following truths:

  1. You are 100% responsible for what you think, say, and do. When you make excuses, blame, and criticize, what you’re saying is there’s something better that you’re not willing to go after. That “better” may be forgiveness.
  2. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself and not the other person. Are there times you tell someone you forgive them, but you still feel hurt. Why? Because forgiveness is not something that you give someone, it’s something you give yourself.
  3. Forgiveness sets you free. Give yourself permission to let it go, because it doesn’t serve you a useful purpose.
  4. Forgiveness allows you to get closer to God. When you’re obedient to God’s commands, you are drawn closer to Him. You achieve a higher spiritual position than before.

Steps to Forgive Those Who Hurt You

Step 1: Align your belief system with the 4 mindset principles. Have the right mindset toward forgiveness.

Step 2: Ask God to help you maintain a forgiving mindset

Step 3: Confess your sin of unforgiveness up until that point. Yes, you are a sinner of unforgiveness.

Step 4: Speak aloud your forgiveness of the person by specifically naming the behavior, and then speak blessings over the other person who has sinned against you.

Step 5: Remind yourself that this is a journey and give yourself a pat-on-the-back that you’re moving in a positive direction

Establish Healthy Personal Boundaries

Honoring God with a spirit of forgiveness doesn’t mean that we have to continually expose ourselves to negative people and situations and a cycle of repeated forgiveness. Neither are we to shelter. We are to be in the world sharing the Gospel, and when we do, we will be exposed to those who will hurt us. Consider establishing healthy personal boundaries that help safeguard you physically, mentally, and emotionally, so you have the mind and spirit to bring Kingdom to earth.

Scriptures to Pray On

  1. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
  2. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25)
  3. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
  4. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)
  5. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37)
  6. Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to sever times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Why Forgive? It’s the Hardest Thing You May Ever Do

Dear Lord, help me forgive…

Part 1 in a 3-Part Series

We live in challenging times, but this has been true for centuries. And as I often share, “No one gets a struggle-free life.” Do you feel oppressed with personal suffering or emotional pain caused by either your own actions or those of others? Simply said, “I believe you can minimize it or caste it out quickly after you feel it.” The secret lies in forgiveness—yes, a difficult task for most people.  

Ten years after professing my belief in Jesus as my personal savior and the Holy Spirit setting up camp in my heart, I have been on an incredible life journey where God has brought me some insights on how to manage the mudslinging and pain that come each day by living on this earth. This 3-part series explores forgiveness: why forgiveness is important, how to forgive, and then my own personal testimony of forgiveness and its impact on my life.

You Are Not Alone

Do you sometimes feel like one of the walking wounded? Do you feel weighed down with feelings of hurt? The answer lies with not just having a belief in Jesus but also tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit—a gift that comes with your salvation. Jesus gave us a friend in the Holy Spirit while we live on earth, until we sit in judgment before God, and Jesus steps in and says to the Father, “I take the sin on behalf of my brother [or sister] who stands before you.” 

How You Can Be MOST Like Jesus

When Jesus truly dwells in your heart, you’ll be inspired to be like Jesus. The Bible gives us testimony and insights into what it looks like to be like Jesus. Have you studied Jesus’s ultimate act and what it means for us still living an earthly life?

On some level it’s hard to imagine that God would send His only Son to earth to be brutally tortured and crucified, so He could take the sin away from all who profess in Him as their personal savior. Jesus’s final act was both the symbol and powerful truth of FORGIVENESS of sin when Christians stand in God’s judgment. If you want to be MOST like Jesus, you must forgive others as God forgives you through the power of Jesus Christ; otherwise, you just don’t get Jesus at the heart level and what He did for you.

Your Forgiveness and Jesus

Forgiveness is so important that Jesus commands us to do it more than 77 times if necessary (Matthew 18:21-22). Scripture also implies that what stands between us and God is our sin and lack of forgiveness (Matthew 6:15). Consider Jesus’s last words spoken before it died and went to heaven, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). When Jesus could have said anything to the crowd or the Father, He chose those words. Will you follow in his footsteps?

What unforgiveness are you holding onto? Who do you need to forgive? Let Jesus stand before our Maker on judgment day and slide the forgiveness card in front of God and say, “I take his [her] sin. I paid the price.”

Give me Jesus…

Pray Upon These Forgiveness Scriptures

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” (Psalm 32:1)

But if you do not forgive others that sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:15)

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Part 2 will give you insights on how you can forgive when it’s difficult


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life story. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Conflict: How to Move from Anger to Love

christian-fregnan-W5Vf2fiDvss-unsplashHow many times has someone said or done something that you chose to respond in anger, whether you held back or expressed your emotions? Did you notice how I phrased it as a choice? Most people blame other people for what they feel such as “He made me mad when he said or did…” When you choose to exercise a 100% responsibility mindset, you’ll realize that you own your feelings and your choices.

How does one own their negative feelings and move into a place of peace and safety? The path starts with anger and moves through hurt, fear, remorse, forgiveness, appreciation, and finally ends in love. People commonly get stuck in the fear stage, because it requires personal awareness, humility, and at times uncomfortable decision-making to make it all the way to love. They are required to process their feelings (anger, hurt, and fear) and then move into what can feel like difficult choices (forgiveness, appreciation, and love).

Anger-Love 1

 

Example: From Anger to Love

Moving toward remorse requires you to claim responsibility for what you created, contributed, promoted, or allowed to happen. You may not feel practiced or skills, but you can start now. Let’s take an example of how this process might work.

ANGER: My mother makes me angry. Every time I talk with her, she tells me all the things I should be doing with my life and how I’m not making good decisions. She doesn’t realize it, but we’re talking less and less, because she doesn’t have anything positive to say.

HURT: I’m hurt that my mother doesn’t have enough faith in me to make good decisions. I wouldn’t say that all my decisions are the best, but compared to others, I’m holding my ground, and I’m willing to live with their consequences.

FEAR: I’m afraid if I say anything to my mom about the way she is hurting me, I’ll hurt her feelings, she’ll get defensive, or worse yet, it will damage our relationship. I also don’t want her thinking I’m a failure.

REMORSE: I regret not saying anything to her about how I feel. I’m not honoring our relationship by not being respectfully truthful and allowing the distance to grow in our relationship. I own that, and it’s gone on for too long.

FORGIVENESS: I forgive my mother. I know she worries about me, she loves me, and she has the best intentions. Unfortunately, she doesn’t understand what her comments are doing to our relationship, because I haven’t shared my feelings with her. How could I blame her for something she didn’t know?

APPRECIATION: I appreciate my mom. Some people have mothers who don’t even care. I’m lucky to have a mother who cares enough to share what’s on her heart.

LOVE: I love my mom for all that she does for me. Because I love her, I’m going to share my feelings, give examples so she understands what I’m referring to, and then put in appropriate boundaries for our conversations so we can have a positive relationship.

caleb-ekeroth-wSBQFWF77lI-unsplash


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com