Do you have someone who is curious about meditation as originally designed? What does God promise from meditation? Please share this post with someone who needs to know they are not meant to be alone in their mental processing. And visit the ‘Prayer Meditation’ page to read more about meditation as God designed.
This week's blog is slightly out of the box to give a brief update of how the year has progressed thus far. Unexpectedly, quite a bit of time has been invested in 2 extended senior family members. Major health problems, home care needs, multiple hospital stays, nursing home transitions, hospice, emotional/spiritual support, and a funeral have been where God positioned me to serve these first many months of 2018. As each calendar month turned, I’ve gotten more and more entrenched. Therefore, I struggled with it; feeling often that it was taking me off course. The sacrifice was costing me in some significant ways. I often resorted to human reasoning through lack, which only produced fretting... more than I care to admit.
Often I’ve gotten silence from God in my fretting. Every once and awhile a reminder from the Spirit penetrates to remind me that He has called me to His service, so “end of argument”. But I have argued still; the clay quarreling with the potter. Useless and all in vain. He remained unmoved by my moments of distress. Instead He quieted me; and kept me on the course he has laid out for me. In it all, His goal is to form more of Christ in me.
Christ is comfortable with the lonely, the sick, people in pain, the broken, the oppressed. Me? Not so much. I like to control how much time those moments last. My natural reaction is to say when I am done and wriggle my way out. So, it has taken me out of my comfort zone to be in various medical facilities for family for the majority of day hours or nights, multiple times per week. This on top of speaking to over 120 patients a week in a part-time position and “hearing” them the way God wants me to hear the broken. And then ministering to a few people a week in prayer sessions. Add intercession for my monthly ministry partners and serving at my church and I’m tapped. Baptism by fire! This is all for me to follow the way of love, 1 Corinthians 14:1. He created the 7 day a week intensity so that I tune intently to the lonely, the anxious, the confused, the distressed, the abandoned, the lost, the dying.
He has intentionally been breaking my heart! Yes He does that! Pure oil is pressed out of the olive as fuel for God's fire. A seed falls to the ground and dies to produce many seeds.
The pressing is not fun. Tears have been flowing, to the point I’ve struggled with some depression and loneliness as the year has begun, all from carrying a small portion of the burden Christ carries fully for each one, i.e. all.
A couple times I’ve told God I just can’t take it, “I go from one depressing setting to another 7 days a week.” He whispers; “You’re stronger”. And while I don’t feel it in those moments, I have to admit He is right. His grace is sufficient; His power is made perfect in my weakness, 2 Corinthians 12:9. I’m sitting longer, caring more, feeling more, reaching more, listening more, praying for more, giving more, loving more. I take absolutely no credit. Remember, I've complained. Its Him doing the “more”. His more produces my “more” as His love reaches beyond my limited capacity and flows to others through me. Christ pouring out through an ordinary earthen vessel with His all surpassing power, 2 Corinthians 4:7-12. I just have had to keep saying “yes” to where He leads.
And I’ve been blessed! Some of my most satisfying moments so far this year have indeed been in the victory of Christ’s power! I’m thankful God let me help a family member find relief in a final distressing moment. I've only gotten to really know this family member in the last couple of years. For most of March, I was disturbed that he was suffering and confused. He kept fighting to get up and “go home”. He itched all over, hated lying on his back constantly, being immobile, always thirsty, feeling lonely in each medical setting which ended in a nursing home. Dementia combined with his learning disability made it difficult for him to understand why he had to stay where he was. He was unbelievably restless; and no one could calm him in final weeks. But in my last moment with him, God gave me a breakthrough. He let me be one of the last who comforted him. I was able to get him up off his back and help him sit with his feet touching on the floor. For the first time in a long time, he breathed a clear sigh of relief. He rested his head on my shoulder and kept it there for a nice long time. I just sat there quietly and held him. I felt privileged to hold him. It was a sacred gift given. He was finally peaceful. After awhile I was able to lie him back down, prop him on his side and see him totally at rest. Two days later he was gone.
In these beginning months of the year, instead of staying tuned to God, I’ve gone "off path" worrying about a loss of a supplemental income source that typically brings in a couple hundred dollars a month. I’ve been worried about a large tax bill due this week.
The tax bill has been paid in full, on time by a generous, unexpected gift! Plus some to make up for lost income! I don’t deserve it!
This is my prayer... "Why do I fret Lord? Why do I rail against you? Lord forgive me! You see and you know every need! Thank you for your goodness and mercy!"
All who call him their God can confidently say, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I lack nothing!" Psalm 23:1.
May you choose the way of love; even at great personal cost. He will abundantly provide according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus! Come before Him now and ask Him to mold you and shape you in LOVE. He never fails!
(Final note- I write this partially for those of you asking about a next event. I haven’t planned one because I haven’t had the bandwidth to do so. But will be praying now about one. Also know the ministry received its official 501(c)3 designation which the IRS pre-dated to 2016. You now have the ability to write donations directly to “Into the Waters” and send to PO Box 67131, Rochester, NY 14617. Online donation option to our local credit union coming very soon! So, if you see the Spirit at work in what you read on this blog and feel led to support me as a local prayer missionary, donations are greatly appreciated!)
Psalm 23 is a scripture made up of 6 verses that people (whether bible believers or not) might say they have at least heard it in part, if not in total. "The LORD is my Shepherd..." is how Psalm 23 begins. It contains precious promises and important reminders to those who call God the Shepherd of their soul.
With God as our Shepherd, we boldly say,
“The LORD is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.”
However, more often than not, our broken human nature focuses on perceived lack and need. Our prayers aren't bold and filled with confidence in God. But,this is not unusual because it is broken human nature to look at God without confidence. Like sheep we wander from God, are blind to His presence, and live in fear. Psalm 23 mentions that God has to help us in that broken nature. Psalm 23 states He “makes” his sheep lie down. He has to, we are fitful and fearful sheep with souls unable to find rest on our own. What is one way He does this? Well, there is a table of fellowship prepared.
Psalm 23 mentions that table in verse 5. It says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”
What does this language mean? First, it is language reflective of the Eastern culture it was written in. In Eastern culture, if you invited someone over to dine with you, you met them at the door with water to wash their feet, put fragrant oil on their head to honor them, and filled a cup with wine to a point that it spilled over (on purpose). All these were gestures to communicate that the guest was welcome in your home, that you respected them; and that you wanted to provide for them in abundance during their visit.
There is a scene in Luke 7 in verses 36-50 that details this. But you will notice it details a host who DID NOT welcome his guest in these ways. His guest was Jesus. Take time to read it and you will see how Jesus responds to the host. Jesus calls him out for not welcoming Him with water for his feet, giving a holy kiss, or anointing his head with perfumed oil. You will also see how Jesus sets a spiritual a table for a sinful woman who interrupted the dinner. For her courage, Jesus sets a table for her in the presence of her enemies. It is clear the "sinful" woman Jesus commends has the affirmative beliefs of Psalm 23 in her and that she is not afraid of enemies who surround her. Her total and complete focus is on the abundant life Jesus offers. She walks away being exalted and publicly justified over her enemies. She walks away forgiven of all her sin by the Good Shepherd of her soul.
This is a table only God can prepare for you. And this is the table of mercy and abundant life all are invited to. Men and woman alike are encouraged to be like the sinful woman who welcomed Jesus into her heart, who unashamedly worshiped at his feet. He will respond in supernatural ways to defend you, provide for you, exalt you in the presence of your enemies, and speak words of life that provide abundantly for your soul eternally.
At his table He will wash our weary, dirty feet. He will anoint our head with sweet perfume from His Spirit, and fill us to overflow with abundant life. After we leave that table, like the author of Psalm 23, we confidently say, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
Put in effort (more than normal) to come to God with this expectation to be filled! I offer some help by praying for you in the audio file below. God knows many need help in finding prayer language with him, that people need others to come alongside and pray for them when they feel weak. So this prayer is offered as a help. As you listen, agree in your heart when you hear something that applies to you. May you enjoy time at his table!
(Note: As I started, I felt the LORD putting on my heart that mercy triumphs over judgment. Let that truth be something you bring with you as you listen. Take that phrase with you to recall and meditate on after the prayer. Where do you need God’s mercy to triumph over judgment in your life?.
Enjoy time at God’s table of abundance! Forward this blog to someone who might need someone to pray for them and suggest they listen to the audio prayer. Blessings!
God promises to powerfully assist when people scheme against us, twist our words, and wait in dark places to attack suddenly. This week, I ministered to several people who've experienced the wicked attacks of others. They are aware that these situations are affecting their personal vitality and ability to function in healthy ways with others. Imprinted within is fear and sorrow they've carried with them over many decades or are what they experiencing in current situations. They're stuck and feel overwhelmed. And they've not felt confident in prayer or known how to invite God into the traumatic memories or tremendously upsetting circumstances. Psalm 56:8 says that God records our sorrow in His book and lists our tears, keeping official count. This is imagery for a God who knows every detail of your pain and does not ignore your cry. He will battle forces too powerful for you! There is powerful imagery in this psalm that when you cry out for God's mercy. your enemies will be turned back by the power of God.
I encourage you to read Psalm 56 in its entirety. The language of the author is intense and reveals some of the tremendous leeway of emotional angst we can express to God in prayer. It begins with a cry for mercy. Reading the psalm will also help you connect with situations you might be stuffing or rehearsing on your own. Instead bring this upset to a God who hears and acts. As you consider who/what your enemy may be, consider the negative thoughts you constantly rehearse in your mind. Examples are found here and then Psalm 56 can be found here.
Then, find a quiet spot to receive a prayer over you to calm waters within. It's just a little over a minute long. Use headphones or earplugs for greater ability to concentrate and receive the prayer. Agree with the prayer as it goes along. Simple replies of "Yes, God please help me"; are an example of a way to respond in agreement as you listen and receive prayer.
Consider sharing this with a friend that might need someone to pray for them too. Many people do not know what it is like to be prayed for. This is a simple introduction to letting someone pray God's love and help over you. Because I have learned to trust in God's promises and have seen them manifest in my life and the lives of many others, I firmly believe God will heal and comfort those open to receiving this prayer. May you believe too!
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Prayer is Gift!
Hi my name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 25 year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and praying for His life in greater measure!