Most people are very vulnerable to verbal attacks. They can be sudden and relentless, directed at us like a sword to pierce our hearts. They can be insidiously subtle, veiled in back-handed comment, delivered with a smile. They can contain truth; but when said without any hint of grace, they do damage. Often attacks begin in our own head. We can spend much time and energy trying to silence internal whispers that accuse! It’s an epidemic crippling many.
Consider this account I found recently of a non-Christian man who detailed his self-accusing voice.
“As a young boy, I remember distinctly the sensation of “feeling like I should be having a feeling.” I was seven when my father divorced my mother. He then went to work overseas. My father was the source of emotional warmth in our family. When he left, I spent years grieving his loss. Then, at some point, those emotions fell silent, creating a blank numb space. And below that? Something very bad was hiding. I call that place the basement.
Whatever emotions I was feeling, I was left to process in isolation. The end result was, I simply could not identify any of the emotions I was feeling; with the possible exception of a consistent baseline of self loathing.
I recall sitting in the pew at my grandmother’s funeral, witnessing myself attempting to cry. As if I was standing next to my own loss, detached, two steps removed. What should I feel? How should I feel it? Why can’t I feel anything? I stood there watching myself doing a vague performance of grief, feeling nothing. But there was something there. Just out of my line of sight. A place I had worked so hard not to see that I couldn’t look towards it now if I wanted to. A place of loss and loneliness that I simply walled off, reducing it to a dull ache. For decades I simply didn’t look. To this day, I still don’t want to look. The result? Ten years of binge drinking as a young adult; struggling to figure out how to present myself in relationships. Ten more years after that of lurching through emotional chaos, struggling day by day to make my way back up into some kind of emotional self awareness. Decades more of seeking a foothold and then beginning to sort out my past. To this day, its terrifying to “go down to the basement.” There’s a seven year old down there in the dark and he’s not happy. He’s full of rage and despair and he holds me responsible. “Why didn’t you do something?,” he screams at me. “Why didn’t you fight?” “Why didn’t you fight them back, hurt them back?”
I commend this man’s honesty. Though it’s a sad account because he admits he hasn’t found resolution. He admits decades lost, choosing self-destructive activities to drown out the accusations. (note: Pray for this man. If any man reading this post might feel led to reach out to him, please contact me. I have his email and could reach out; but prefer a Christian man to do so).
Now for the believer, the voice of the accuser is also active, yet the setting changes. In Zechariah 3, we see God is present and responsive when his servant is under attack. I love this account. There are deep revelations detailed.
Think about this, Zechariah is allowed to see how a fellow servant of God is being attacked while in God’s presence. Zechariah was head of a priestly family and Joshua was the high priest in the temple at the time. Zechariah is given spiritual vision to see Joshua standing in front of the Angel of the LORD, with Satan at his right hand accusing him.
Satan’s accusations are not detailed; but the LORD’s response is. The LORD rebukes Satan not once, but TWICE. The rest of the time, the LORD speaks only to Joshua and others present. Who are the others? They seem to be fellow associates of Joshua (Joshua 3:8).
I wonder if Zechariah wrestled with what God said in the vision. God did not use a vision that described an animal sacrifice to cleanse Joshua (which would have made sense to him under the sacrificial system of worship in place). Instead, God cleansed Joshua on the basis of His Word and authority only. It’s powerful. “Take off his filthy clothes.” God says. He directs this command to associates of Joshua. Then he turns to Joshua and says, “See, I have taken away your sin; and I will put fine garments on you.” God makes a new way… God in his mercy personally takes away sin and cleanses his servant, clothing him with righteousness. AWESOME!
Despite this truth, too frequently, when believers hear satan's influence whispering lies, we keep the accusatory voice to ourselves and struggle alone. I believe Zechariah 3 contains a great encouragement. We are to ask God to see what Zechariah saw. Do we see our fellow “Joshua’s” silenced by a voice of condemnation and shame?
To the "Joshua's" in our midst, OPEN UP. Ask God to bring you into safe fellowship with whom you can share. Those fellow believers are meant to surround you with prayer and proclaim over you that God has snatched you from eternal fire, washed you clean by the blood of Christ, clothing you with His righteousness. You cannot be snatched out of his hand. In the New Testament, Jesus, the Good Shepherd states it twice for emphasis, see John 10 verses 28 and 29. No one has power to snatch you out of His hand!
Note, there is no longer a human priest system for atonement. Joshua was high priest in Zechariah 3; but now Christ is THE High priest, inferring upon all believers spiritual kingship and priestly authority. We’ve now been raised with Him to the right hand of God. We now sit with Him in the Heavenly realms. We have been given every spiritual blessing in Christ, allowed to boldly approach his throne to entreat him for mercy, grace, and help in our times of need. As far as East is from West, so far He has removed your sin from his sight. He has disarmed satanic rule, triumphing over wicked rule by the cross! See Colossians 2:9-15, Revelation 1:5-6, Ephesians 1:19-23, Ephesians 1:3, Hebrews 4:14-16, Psalm 103:11-13.
Next time you hear an accusing voice, envision the Heavenly scene. Get it out of your head and take it into God’s presence. You are now Joshua in that scene. Ask God to open your spirit up to envision and hear Him rebuking satan on your behalf. Ask others to affirm in prayer that you have been snatched away by Christ’s loving mercy when the voice of the accuser is attacking. Confess to others. It brings a promise of healing (James 5:16-20). Ask for strength and obedience to follow the Good Shepherd and abide in his ways and life.
In the meditation session on February 19th, you will be seeing yourself as one of God’s sheep. He has many good reasons for paralleling our human nature to this animal. Certain situations need to be created by the Shepherd for his sheep to be able to rest, renew, thrive, and follow His voice. You will be guided through those situations. Expect the Holy Spirit to reveal areas you need his help and healing. Expect Him to transform places inside you that need his life and power. Come into His presence; it is the only true place of REST and RENEWED LIFE! Sign up on the Calendar page.
(Note: If you sign up as a member, you will receive a prayer exercise that goes with this blog post. If you've already signed up, there is no need to sign up again. Blessings!)
This blog is a message of affirmation and invitation! I’ve communicated recently that God is calling me to pray more intently, as a full-time job, for the Body of Christ. The purpose? I believe it is for clearing a way for the Lord to be revealed through YOU… for a time such as this. This is not a rash choice or statement; it’s a belief He has been preparing me to accept.
Many in the Body of Christ are hurting. Many are confused. Many are frustrated with the process of discerning His voice and shut-down in spirit. Many are weary and overwhelmed by life. For too many in the Body, prayer closets are more like wrestling bouts where we are down for the count in less than 5 minutes, than they are places of renewal and intimacy with God.
Like Jacob, we have to learn the nature of the One who comes to wrestle with us (see Genesis 32:22-32). We have to realize that He does not start a grappling session to take our life. Like Jacob, there needs to be a shift in our mindset. Somewhere in the wrestling match, Jacob’s fear of dying was transformed into a holy revelation. He realized the One he wrestled with had not come to take his life; but had true authority to bless him. So, Jacob refused to let go. In the process, He wearied God (if it’s possible). Jacob was insistent with God that he would not let go until God blessed him.
In this “showdown” of being alone with God, God indeed blessed Jacob. He gave him a new name that transcended Jacob’s earthly existence. Renamed Israel, God blessed him to be a progenitor of a people God would claim for himself and ultimately fight to the death to save. Israel means “God prevails”!
Now many thousands of years later, we are blessed to see God’s strategy. The Father sent His only Son, Jesus Christ to fight for, die for, and win… you and me. Christ is the God-man who left Heaven to prevail over ALL who will believe, wrestling sin and death to its ultimate defeat. For Him to win in you and me, we can’t stand afar off. Our holy revelations are only possible with face-to-face encounters and by taking on His name, wrestling with Him through all of life… even when the twists and turns bring pain. Though we walk away humbled, we rejoice in intimate fellowship and eternal victory.
Genesis 32: 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
Creating opportunity for face-to-face encounters is the basis of the new full-time call. I’m to offer prayer resources and set up prayer environments that invite fellowship between you and Him. He wants to heal and comfort. He wants you to own your identity in Him, walking in fellowship, in His authority by the power of the Holy Spirit.
By faith, I have rented a lodge at Ellison Park on Friday, February 19th. Might there be a sacrifice for some willing to knock off work early to meet with God? I am taking a chance on it. The plan is to hold 3 meditative prayer sessions (1pm, 4pm, 7pm). Pick one time to attend. If you plan for it, enjoying time with God in the park would be a great set up for a personal retreat before or after your session, weather dependent of course.
The interactive session will be based upon a psalm divinely penned by King David, i.e. Psalm 23. Whether man or woman, you are meant to be blessed in attendance. Please go to the CALENDAR page to download the flyer and sign up. I am praying that you are open to attend, that you yourself battle in prayer to negate all arguments against attendance.
Like Jacob, get alone with Him in a face-to-face interaction and refuse to let go! Come be blessed, come be renewed, come experience His love for you!
When I was little, I wanted either my mom or dad to give me “butterfly kisses”. There was an excited anticipation I would feel in my belly as they drew their head in close to mine. There was always certain stillness and quieting necessary to focus and align eyelash-to-eyelash. Plenty of giggling involved. It led to a hug, a kiss goodnight, and whispers. Face-to- face encounters are at the heart of intimacy and meant to be a safe and holy place. It’s God’s plan for us with Him.
This type of knowing and face-to-face encounter with God can be a struggle. Somewhere in our mindset, we’ve had previous experiences that have led to false conclusions about the character of God. Also we have made choices that we are not proud of, so we fear drawing near. Maybe a parent or caretaker was strict and harsh or a religious hypocrite, so we think of God as a hard task master, One that is not easily appeased and shifty. We reason through the evil we see, concluding that God is not good. Some are dumbstruck with devastation after striving hard to follow God’s “commands”, only to have their world crash in on them. In all of these circumstances many conclude God is the one who remains distant. Or just as true, many are simply not interested in drawing near to God because they want to conform to their life mantra, not God’s. People can inherently prefer distance from God.
It’s the way we think and translate that leads to how we perceive God’s commands. The word “command” itself sends negative vibrations through our bodies for those who have a skewed view of God. We assign a tone in our head when we read scripture like, “If you love me you will keep my commandments”. Somewhere there is a guilt trip in that, somewhere there is a harsh hand waiting to strike. It’s a cold voice speaking, an unsafe authority in charge. But we’ve lost our way in translation.
The English language has its root in the Greek and Roman language which tends towards abstract thought. We make vague statements to express ourselves. “It’s a beautiful day”, we might say. In terms of me really knowing something about you, it lacks power. What consensus does it really build if my idea of a beautiful day is a soft rain with intermittent sun breaking through clouds and yours is a day on the golf course? To me, golf is not worth the time and money, so I would not agree with your assessment of a “beautiful” day. It’s the same with God’s commands. If the picture forming in my head of following His commands is radically skewed from God’s reality, I won’t connect with Him.
The Word of God is filled with pictures to give specific context and reveal true intent. He is the ultimate storyteller, wanting to engage all of our senses and imagination to reveal Himself in all of His glory and impress them into memory. Take for example the word “command”, which in Hebrew is “mitsvah”. In our culture we tend to assign a strict disciplinarian tone, a military like setting, an unpleasant task to the word “command”. However in the Hebrew language, the meaning is one of signs or markers to his nomadic people on their journey to know Him. The Israelites were desert dwellers and shepherds that needed divine guidance for survival as they journeyed with God. Therefore the picture behind the word command is a one of visual cues and landmarks that pointed His people to water sources and resting spots for their human survival and divine soul care. King David expressed it beautifully in Psalm 23 as one example. Count how many pictures you see to define how David has experienced God’s love. Where God wants you in your relationship with Him is continually looking for the signposts and stopping in those places with him. He wants you to translate His Word according to His intent not your own. This is done in face-to-face fellowship and honest processing with God.
I am excited to say that a decent size (abstract thought) is gathering at this site, wanting more of God!. Over 70 of us (concrete expression) are pressing in for more of God, desiring more in prayer! Pretty good considering I am just reaching a few hundred right now. Remember, if you haven’t signed up, you have access to the blog only. Those who sign up on the member page will receive an email with prayer exercises. Be blessed to read the Word of God in the pictures He paints, stepping into the story with all the fullness He intended, obeying his invitation to walk with Him in the story He designed for your survival and eternal care.
Spiritual warfare is NORMAL and it reveals REALITY in its highest form. It’s not meant to be bizarre or weird or a taboo subject, especially for Christians. God uses battle language to communicate truths meant for man, woman and child alike. He did it in the Old Testament. He did it in the New Testament. He does it now.
Many of you would agree. In a survey I sent out recently, almost 69% of participants revealed they knew spiritual warfare is real; but they want to build their arsenal of weapons for greater victory. Awesome!
Take a look at the book of Judges Chapter 3 in the Bible, specifically verses 2 and 4. Verse 2 is a commentary statement to reveal God’s motive behind verses 1 and 3. The verse is couched in parenthesis. It says, “(he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience). God did what? For those who had never battled, He left enemies in their land of promise… big ones… post victory… post settlement. Why? Verse 4 says it was to test if His people would obey His commands.
For the last 5 years of my life, I’ve had to witness and personally experience a horrific spiritual war in my family. The enemy executed a plot for murder. He has tempted hearts to choose evil, vice, and destruction and I’m sorry to say, he seems to have won way too many battles thus far. It’s been a baptism by fire in the reality of spiritual warfare. People I love very much have not recognized the spiritual war or the schemes of the enemy. They have not chosen God's ways.
We (God’s people) take the bait laid out by the wicked one too often. We respond in the flesh versus responding in the Spirit. I’ve done it; you’ve done it. Dark thoughts fly off human tongues, full of deadly poison (James 3:17). The reality of Galatians 5:17 is a real struggle, flesh is lusting against Spirit control.
Sometimes though, we don’t initiate with our tongue. But we take deadly blows from others. Then, our own thoughts (strongholds) defeat us. Maybe it happens suddenly, maybe it builds over time. But a point comes when we are overwhelmed. We get depressed. We succumb to hopelessness. We become cynical. We conclude that loving sacrificially is not worth the pain or stress involved. We can come out of a situation concluding people are thankless, abusive, too powerful, and way too dangerous to trust. We burn out. We prefer to focus on self-soothing habits and comfort and withdraw. We blame God. This is losing the war too.
How to win? Christians can too quickly say, “Just put on the armor of God!” Like a simple, end of story pat response. It’s not that simple; because a lot of people don’t know how to make it practical. The first and greatest battle to win starts within. And from your place of internal victory, Christ can win those around you. It’s His battle, not yours. From a place of opening up to God, He can whisper healing truth, give strategy and download spiritual discernment, keeping your soul still as He battles on your behalf, and for the other souls He loves.
For those of you who signed up, I will be sending you a spiritual weapon/prayer exercise for you to try. And again, thank you for signing up! Over 22% of site visitors are signing up! It’s a fantastic response compared to the 2-3% typical of website invitations! For those of you yet to sign up, please do! You will receive exercises from that point forward.
In the 13 years I have been serving God and his people in prayer, and the almost 20 years I have known Him, He has taught me a few things about persisting and abiding. He has shown me the reward of intimacy at His feet.
God longs for intimacy with His people. Discerning His voice and depending upon His character to produce outcomes in our lives is key to intimacy and living a Spirit empowered life. But too often we rely on our efforts. Too often we are confused about God's ways and frustrated in our prayer closets. Therefore, by faith I am establishing a new ministry. It is for individuals and leadership teams who want to seek His face, listen for His voice, and act in faith to the leading of His Spirit. This is the purpose of intothewaters.com.
If you are looking to do any of the following:
Secondly, if you are part of a board of directors, a leadership team, any group that might benefit from pressing in for God's guidance or help, then please inquire here.
Start the year believing for more with God! I am believing for you too! Praying His supernatural power and life enter in at greater measure!
Blessings of His love to you!
Psalm 27:8- My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, LORD, I will seek.
Ways to stay connected to ministry offerings:
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Prayer is Gift!
Into the Waters Ministry is a 501(C)3 public charity. Our mission is to inspire you to linger longer with God, to draw near and know Christ. For those willing, it is a place of supernatural hope and healing. I know this first hand. My name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 20+ year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and receiving His life in greater measure! I've experienced radical healing in mind, body, and spirit and believe God for more! I long for others to position themselves for the same! Into the Waters' resources help you spend quality time with God to enter His rest and receive His divine provision. Let us help you experience more of God! Read the blogs, try the exercises, participate in online sessions! His promises for life and wholeness are offered to all! But you have to say "Yes!"