The following Articles are free to be copied and used in any
Christian Ministry. Mike & Ann give permission to reproduce and
distribute as long as proper credit of authenticity is given. These
articles are intended to bring glory to our Heavenly Father and
clarity to the understanding of the Holy Trinity. A list of 37
articles is below. Contact us to order your choices, or to
arrange our leading your Marriage Enrichment Seminar, or Retreat.
"The Spirit Within"
In January of 2004, African Minister and Founder of Grace
Evangelistic Ministries, Moses Onwubiko and his wife Gloria were
guests in our home. We had engaged in several meaningful
conversations on many subjects, but none were as insightful as our
discussion about the presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ
promised just before his ascension to Heaven that one would come and
live in each and every person that accepts salvation by confessing
our sins, repenting and believing in Him. That one is the Holy
Spirit. Jesus did not mention any denomination, or special gift of
For myself, being saved at the age of six and never doubting my
salvation, I always clearly understood two parts of the Trinity
"Godhead", those two being the Father and Jesus the Son, but the
third element, the Holy Spirit was a mystery to me. I had visited
my grandparent's Pentecostal church many times as a child and I was
raised in Southern Baptist churches in five different cities.
It appeared to me that in my grandparent's Pentecostal church, the
Holy Spirit "visited" from time to time, causing great and strange
things to happen. In all the Baptist churches I was raised in, or
visited, it was as if the preachers were afraid to mention the Holy
Spirit in the pulpit, for fear someone would think he was leaning
toward the charismatic. So I continued in my ignorance until I was
thirty-five years old, when I began a three-year intense daily study
of the Bible, on my own.
At age fifty-five, while conversing with Moses around the breakfast
table, I felt, ‘comfortable' after twenty years of my understanding
of the presence of the Holy Spirit living within me. Moses
surprised my wife and me with a simple and clear analogy that I
would like to share with you.
First, let's establish a couple of things. The "Father" is a real
person, the ‘senior', or ‘ranking' part of the Trinity and he lives
in Heaven. Jesus is the Father's "Son", a real person who took on
the form of human man, walked on Earth with us for a while and now
lives in Heaven with the Father, seated at His right hand. The
Bible says that neither of these two are on Earth with us today.
The Father does not leave Heaven and when Jesus does come back, all
will know it, it will not be a secret, 'every knee will bow' and everyone will know.
The Scripture says that the Holy Spirit is a real person, a real
entity with the ability to be in more than one place at the same
time and ‘intercedes' for us with the Father. That means the Holy
Spirit is in constant communication with the Father and the Father
with the Holy Spirit.
It always makes me smile just a little bit when I hear someone say,
"God told me this, or that." It's like they are claiming that they
have a special phone line open from the Father to them.
Scripturally, we communicate with the Father through the Holy
If we consult the Scriptures, throughout the Bible we find more
persons saying they were moved by the Holy Spirit, or the Holy
Spirit came over them, causing them to do great and mighty things.
There are a few persons that God chose to hear His voice, but most
stated that the Holy Spirit spoke to their hearts and directed their
For teaching purposes, let's treat the Holy Spirit as if He were a
physical entity with physical form taking up physical space. The
Scripture also says we are to make our bodies a living "Temple" for
the Holy Spirit. If we take that literally, let's picture in our minds
that we construct within the trunk of our bodies a beautiful house,
a Temple to shelter the Holy Spirit.
For the sake of visualizing this Temple and understanding just how
the Holy Spirit can influence us, yet leaving us to be the
‘creatures-of-choice' as God created us, we must recognize the
following. The Temple does not occupy the brain, for God wanted us
to think for ourselves and choose Him. Nor does it occupy our
heart, nor arms, legs, or any other vital organ for each of these
has a special function in our lives. Would you want the Holy Spirit
to dwell in your foot, or Colon? Visualize that when we build this
Temple, we move other parts aside and make room for it, perhaps
close to our spiritual emotional heart where we ‘feel' love and all
the other good things we feel.
Now if we live according to Scripture, keeping the Commandments and
living a life of love and righteousness, the Holy Spirit freely
dwells not only within the Temple inside of us, but as we live
righteous lives, turning away from sin, the Spirit "radiates",
filling every limb and each part of our physical being, guiding our
thoughts and actions, just as it did thousands of years ago in the
stories of many Biblical characters.
Visualize that when we get busy with jobs, errands and
responsibilities, we fail to be aware of the presence of the Holy
Spirit and He waits patiently just inside the door of the Temple,
but when we are mindful of Him and seek the face of God through that
Spirit, He swells up inside, filling not only every part of our
bodies and our being, but can and will fill everything in our
presence, a room, a building, our homes, even our nation.
Nowhere in the Scripture does it say that the Holy Spirit is a
"Warrior", but rather a peaceful spirit, gentle and tender. The
Holy Spirit is powerful, not weak, and more than able to ‘fill one
with the Spirit, causing one to do great and mighty things', but
we find in Biblical history, it was not the Spirit doing those things. It was
the individual who was ‘filled' who did those things in the "Name of the
Lord God". The Holy Spirit supplied the super-human strength,
wisdom and energy to a chosen righteous person who had purposely
pushed willful sin out of his, or her life.
But picture this. When we let any sin in our lives, or our bodies,
not being a Warrior, the Holy Spirit retreats and hides from sin
within the Temple for safety, because He hates sin. Our sin and the
Holy Spirit cannot occupy the same space. The Holy Spirit cannot
When this happens, we are the ones who have, in some way actually hardened
our hearts and the Holy Spirit cannot communicate with us. We
cannot hear Him, whispering to us from the farthest corner of the
Temple, within us. No longer are our arms, legs, hands, feet, head
and brain strengthened and prepared for serving the Father. No
longer is our home, church, or nation filled with strength. No
longer can we feel the communication, nor the intercession on our
behalf to the Father. The Spirit is still praying for us, but ‘we'
are disconnected, short-circuited by the sin we have allowed in.
You say, "But I don't do bad things, like cursing, getting drunk, or
being ugly to people." Do you worry? Do you feel anger when you
are wronged? Every negative thought, much less deed is an element
of sin that instantly drives the Spirit into retreat.
For example, some Christians have accepted ‘sex out of marriage' as
being ‘okay'. After all, we are adults, not kids. But sins of the
body are especially heinous to the Holy Spirit because they directly
contaminate the Temple within. This is no joke. As one learns more
about the Holy Spirit and becomes more aware of His presence, the
reality of the consequences of all kinds of sin also become more
God has given us a break, no, more than that. He has given us His
mercy and grace. When we realize our sin, repent and ask His
forgiveness, He cleanses us and the Holy Spirit comes rushing out of
the Temple, reviving us fully. This is why we feel so emotional
when we take the time, in church, or anywhere we might be, to
confess our sins in prayer, truly repent and give ourselves over to
the will of God. In our 'human-ness', we find ourselves asking for His forgiveness, time
and time again, but each time, striving to be more like Him. He
knows we will fail again, but we are His and He loves us. He is
patient and kind. His mercy and grace are greater than all our sin.
My prayer is that every Christian of every denomination will come to
understand, to love and communicate with the Holy Spirit that lives within each
one of us. So many denominations ‘discount' the importance of the
Holy Spirit. Many depend on ‘church traditions', rituals, or lean
towards being a cult by following one dynamic teacher, or preacher.
Others gain popularity by preaching "feel good" sermons, one after
another. In far too many cases, reference to and teaching about the
Holy Spirit is left out.
I encourage you to do what I did at age thirty-five. Get a Laymen's
Parallel Bible with four translations, or get three or four
different Bibles of different translations, perhaps even the new
translations that are directly from the original Greek and Hebrew text. Open them to the same
Scripture as you study. Use a concordance, or the reference section
in the back of your Bible and look up every Scripture that contains
the words "Holy Spirit", "Spirit", or "Holy Ghost".
Keep a journal, make notes on
each verse and mark your Bibles. You will be amazed at how real the
Holy Spirit will become to you.
I personally do not refer to the Holy Spirit as the Holy Ghost
because that was one thing that contributed to my ‘not'
understanding for so many years. The word ‘ghost' immediately
brings to my mind, a picture of some strange vapor, floating around
‘out there' somewhere and it just comes and visits me from time to
time. Some friends have stated that they had once thought of the
Holy Spirit to be somewhat like "Casper, the Friendly Ghost". NOT
The Holy Spirit is a real person and lives in me all the time, day
or night, rain or shine, good times or bad, He is "ever with me",
living within, providing strength, courage, wisdom as my counselor,
giving me peace in all circumstances and interceding on my behalf to
the Holy Father when I don't know what to think, or say. With the
presence of the Holy Spirit, I have no fear. I still have
physical and emotional pains and
many concerns, but I worry less and "submit every aspect of my life
to the Father through the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus".
"The Emotional Garbage Warehouse"
Most people are totally unaware that they have an "Emotional Garbage
Warehouse" (EGW) in the subconscious part of their mind. Some say
that women have larger EGW's than men. It could be that women have
None-the-less, there is an Emotional
Garbage Warehouse in all of us, bar
What we do, or how we manage our EGW is what really counts. Since
most people are not aware of their EGW existence, the warehouse goes
a lifetime without being cleaned out. Thus, by the time people reach
middle age, the mountain of Emotional Garbage (EG) that they have
stored up is overwhelming. In not clearing
out the EG, we see these good folks enter a stage of life we call
"Mid-life Crisis" where men buy sport cars, fancy clothes,
shoes, toupees and
have affairs, while women get face-lifts, tummy-tucks, permanent
tans, tattoos ... and have affairs.
Then, of course we see the divorce rate skyrocket.
A good sized collection of Emotional Garbage leads to big-time
"Rationalization"? One carries a long term, unresolved emotional
event in his, or her ‘warehouse', then something happens to ‘trigger' the
memory and here it comes into play in the lives of an unsuspecting
marriage. Most often, when an affair begins, the root of the
"Rationalization" problem lies not in the ‘other person' that gets
involved, but in our own inability to deal with our own Emotional
Garbage that we have carried around for years. The ‘other person'
most likely is a fine person with many qualities, but it is much
easier to blame the ‘new kid on the block' than to deal with our
own.........................." Emotional Garbage ".
What is in your Emotional Garbage Warehouse that
needs to be cleaned out and where do you put it? You take it
'all' and lay it at the foot of Jesus Christ, because He wants to take
it away from you. He knows how to get rid of it, but you must
take ALL of it out of your warehouse and give it to Him. If you
keep just 'one' small bag of it, it will rot and stink, with the
potential to ruin your marriage.
You may find some very nasty EG in your warehouse
that needs to be thrown out. Do not forget that "throwing it
out" means laying it at the feet of Jesus. He is the only
'efficient' "Emotional Garbage Collector" who really knows what to do
with it. He is able to dispose of it properly, but if we hold
back just one small piece, it will contaminate everything in our
minds. Would you keep a piece of raw chicken in your kitchen
trash can for weeks on end? Of course not! Your entire
house would stink so badly that you would not be able to stay in it.
It's the same way with your Emotional Garbage. You must get it
all out of the back of your mind. You have to get it "all" out.
If you have a great collection of EG, it will
take awhile to drag it all out and disinfect your storage areas
with Prayer and Scripture. The job is always easier when you
have help. Let your spouse into those nasty places and let him,
or her help you. If it gets to be too much, get a Christian
counselor (God's Co-Worker Trash Handler) to give you a hand. If
two are good, three are better.
Work together to keep EG out, but remember, your
EG is "yours". Your spouse can only 'help' you to get it out.
You must identify it and drag it out into the open (no matter how bad
it stinks). Then your spouse can help you take it to Jesus.
Get it OUT!
More Articles & Sessions
SHELTER Sanctuary Ministries was first entered
into with the idea that retreats for couples and for Ministers and
their spouses would be conducted solely on the premises of our bed &
breakfast inn. As this ministry has developed, we have come to
realize that God is leading us to be mobile, prepared to go anywhere
to lead and teach others what we have learned. Our Heavenly Father
has blessed us with experiences and insight and led us to share it
all with anyone that asks. We do not charge a fee for leading
retreats. Our time and literature is not ours, but His, to be given
freely to those in need of it. Your only costs are for travel
expenses and printing costs for copying literature.
RETREATS: There are 37 topics to choose
from in order for you to "customize" your retreat. If you choose to
use Aire Castle Inn B&B for your retreat, we can accommodate up to
three couples for Marriage Enrichment Retreats, or 6 individuals for
a "Ladies Retreat". There are local resorts available for lodging as
well. We can lead your retreat, or you may provide your own
leadership. We will provide an itinerary that shows how our retreat
plan is for five sessions, allowing maximum time for couples to
privately discuss topics and have personal time together. Call for
information about retreats.
Seminars include more sessions
as they are teaching engagements.
Customize your Retreat: Groups of
couples must agree and choose ‘five’ session topics, games and /or
activities from the list to make up your "Retreat Package".
We suggest that each couple pick "one or two topics each" so that
three couples will wind up with just the right number of Session
Topics. ( Call for assistance if you wish) You may choose
‘related topics’, or topics that encompass a variety of issues.
Plan and make reservations 30 days in advance in
order for preparation of materials, literature and other necessities
to insure a totally successful retreat, 60 to 90 days if a major
holiday is preferred, three night minimum ‘stay’ required on
holidays. It is best to plan three-night retreats, if possible.
Retreats must be paid 30 days in advance, not refundable due to the
nature of the B&B / Retreat Ministry. Firm commitment absolutely
necessary. Christian entertainment is available on request in
advance for retreats and seminars.
"Retreat Session Topics"
SHELTER Sanctuary Ministries is not a licensed
counselor. Materials and literature are ‘food for thought’ only.
SHELTER Sanctuary Ministries recommends Christian
1.- Communication in Marriage ( Questionnaire - one hour - very
personal self-examination )
2.- Trust Games, Learning Exercises ( 4 to choose from, one to
two hours each, a fun way to learn about ‘Trust’, one or two Trust
Games per retreat, we choose games to compliment your choice of
other topics )
3.- Mind Games, ‘What If vs. If Only’ ( Discussion Group - one
hour - an in-depth look at our behavioral ‘attitude’ choices )
4.- "Comment on Truth" ( Spouse activity and discussion based on
personal testimony - one hour )
5.- Trigger Points to Watch For ( 7 important topics, linked
together for an entire retreat taking four of the five sessions, two
to three topics per session, ‘Trigger Points’ boldly exposes the
obvious ‘signs’ of a spouse in danger of having an extramarital
affair, Trust Game "Blind" Relay to be the fifth session )
6.- Emotional Garbage Warehouse ( Detailed Group Discussion - one
to two hours - designed to help spouses be aware of the emotional
‘baggage’ that can destroy an otherwise perfect marriage )
7.- Faithfulness - Unfaithfulness ( A personal testimony and open
discussion - one to two hours - exposing the ‘truth’ about whether
or not the ‘grass is greener’ - to be followed by Session Topic #
8.- Romance in Marriage ( Definitions, questions and discussion -
one hour - carefully defining the ‘true’ romance that we should have
in our marriages )
9.- Blended Family ( A close look at basic personality
differences - one hour - some facts that are often missed when two
families join to live under one roof - [ sub-topics, His Kids vs.
Her Kids, The "Ex." Problem, "Family" Court] )
10.- Personal Conflicts - Conflict in marriage ( Takes a
look at basic personality differences - one hour - by recognizing
these differences, they can be addressed )
11.- The "Art" of Changing Your Mate ( Commentary about truths
and misgivings concerning ‘Changing Your Mate’ )
12.- "Everyone Fights From Time to Time" ( Personal Testimony of
a Dear Friend - Food for Thought )
13.- Money Matters - Finances( Questionnaire for an in-depth look
at managing your finances and the problems that can occur -
Questions that lead to understanding how being focused on money
matters can distract couples from their love for each other - one to
two hours )
14.- What Makes a Marriage Fail ( Realistic material that gets
very personal, but can uncover hidden ‘danger zones’ in your
15.- What "Bugs" You, About Your Spouse ( ‘In depth’ questions
that probe deep into your relationship, questions to answer
separately and then determine if your marriage is strong enough to
discuss together )
16.- "Resolving Conflict in Your Marriage" ( A special ‘THREE
NIGHT’ retreat that uses, with permission from the publisher,
the nationally known ‘Home Builders Couples Series’ book by Bob &
Jan Horner, a copy required for each spouse - questions,
discussions, activities, projects, etc., six parts - two hours
minimum each, excellent retreat, optional two nights for half the
book and couples complete the other half at home.)
17.- Called to Ministry - "Seeking & Knowing God’s Will" (
Personal Testimony & descriptive ‘Journey’ to Ministry )
18.- Reasons for Seeking Counseling ( Commentary with 5 reasons
for seeking counseling - Good to use with Sessions # 7 & # 21)
19.- Sixteen Inspirational Bible Subjects ( Written by
Grandfather P.F.Driver - author and counselor, founder of Gospel
Assembly Church of Paducah - Note: This book is to be copied
and arranged in a total of sixteen individual Topics. Until this
preparation is complete, copies of the book will be available for
guests to read together during their "Free Time".)
20.- "Instant Gratification" That Feel Good Feeling (
Commentary and expose’ on the lack of ‘facing the facts’ in
21.- Confessing Unfaithfulness - "Tell / Don’t Tell?" ( To
accompany Faithfulness / Unfaithfulness Topic # 7 )
22.- Nature Scavenger Hunt (Weather permitting, or maybe not,
couples as a team roam about to gather "trophies" in a simple old
fashioned Scavenger Hunt where articles in the hunt will be compared
to your Spiritual Life )
23.- Not Married, but Living Together (A Biblical look at
"Courtship", advantages, myths, a lot of questions answered, great
opportunity for couples considering marriage to find some important
facts about God’s plan for you )
24.- "End Session" Love Letter to Your Spouse Activity ( A
nice ending to your Retreat )
25. - Standing in the Shadow of a Dynamic Personality (
Commentary - in part testimony designed to help a spouse in a public
"leadership" position to better understand his or her spouse’s
26. - Who Chose Your Spouse? ( Serious look at your marriage -
confronting the truth about "God’s will" in ‘your’ choice of who you
married - sensitive in nature )
27. - "TRINITY", as to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ( An unusual
defined analogy comparing the ‘mystery’ of the Trinity to the
vagueness of a modern, yet mystical medical term )
28. - Understanding the Holy Spirit ( Searching the Scriptures to
come to know who and what the Holy Spirit really is )
29. - Why Married People Have Affairs ( Commentary that exposes
the truth about the underlying motives that really cause people to
get involved in affairs )
30. - "Song of Solomon" - A Love Song ( Commentaries &
Bible Study that requires couples to examine each segment of this
31. - "The Love Chapter" of the Bible ( Defined, word by
word, then reassembled using the definitions in order to clarify the
entire meaning )
32.- "Christlike Love" ( Notes taken from a sermon of Adrian
33.- "Old Spot", Grandma’s Farm Dog ( A testimony about
sacrificial love - a handout for reflection )
34.- On Rope, On belay ( Comparison to living the Christian life,
trusting the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit completely - handout or
discussion topic )
35.- Integrity, the testimony of the pursuit of the vision of
ministry ( Personal Testimony of Mike & Ann )
36.- Grandfather’s Testimony ( Including part of Mike’s personal
testimony, facing divorce and contemplating suicide )
37.- Grandmother’s Testimony ( A glorious true story about
Grandmother Cannon’s "Near Death" experience )
New Topics Will Be Added.
By choosing different topics for each Retreat you
may return often for retreats focused on different themes.
Videos from Beth Moore &/or Joyce Meyer Ministries
may be used in "Women’s Retreats" at your request and on your choice
Permission to use literature from Author and
Missionary to Nigeria, Moses C. Onwubiko, founder and Director of
"Grace Evangelistic Ministries, Inc.", Nashville, Tennessee,
Spiritual partners in ministry.