A mark of a mature and well-developed person is one who can discern what is good.
When you are able to discern what is good, you make decisions that direct your steps into the path of God’s supernatural promises. The meditation event of a Summer Sabbath Walk is an invitation for you to discern what is good.
Being able to discern what is good and what is not good is described as something for the mature, those who eat solid meat. Discerning God’s goodness and what is good in terms of personal choices helps one reach a level of maturity where you are filled with supernatural wisdom, strength, and securely dependent on God’s provision.
These are the ones who are not destroyed by the storms of life. They are over-comers, victorious through the divine supply of God’s goodness.
He has a supply that is not to be worked for, no striving involved. It is to be received.
Unfortunately, whether consciously or unconsciously, many people do not believe God gives unless you work hard. Many people work to points of exhaustion, not seeing God’s hand open to them. Instead they see a closed hand, maybe even a closed fist if they think God is angry with them. Many are not full and satisfied deep within. Many are empty and drained, busy striving and posturing, grasping to get what they want on their terms.
Striving is not God’s will for our lives. He wants us to reach a state of rest and trust in His goodness. He promises to send His Spirit to recreate and to renew our hearts with His life, strength, and purpose.
How does our rest and trust in God deepen? God instructs us to walk with Him and by reason of use to exercise our senses to discern what is good and not good. One way of doing this is meditating and wrestling with God’s promises. Then in times of strain and moments of choice, we remember and are invited to believe in His radical promises, walk by faith, and jump with abandon into the Father’s arms. Many times He will bring us to the end of our faith, because He is the finisher of our faith, Hebrews 12:2. His resurrection life comes again and again to raise up what is dead in you. We are to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings so that we become like him in his death. Becoming like him in his death means that we attain resurrection from the dead, in this life and in the next. He promises to give life to our mortal bodies by His Spirit, Romans chapter 8.
God is indeed good and has many wonderful things to reveal to those who seek His face and walk with Him in His finished work.
Here are 3 pictures that represent the concrete definition of good in God’s terms. They are a basket, a tent peg, and a house.
How do they relate? How do they combine to form God’s meaning of His goodness? Well you will have to come to the event on Saturday June 16th to find out. God's language and meaning is rich in sensory experience and action based visual images. He provides wonderful material to ponder and experience His truths. He does not shift according to opinion or waves of emotion. God is unchanging and His hand is open to you. Come and sit in His Presence, walk with him; talk with Him. Enjoy and receive.
Sign up for the event on the calendar page! And feel free to share the video above and this blog with a friend. Certainly you know someone who needs to hear that supernatural provision is available to those who can discern between what is good and what is not good. Blessings!
Socrates, the father of philosophy, apparently said “the unexamined life is not worth living”.
He lived 400 or so years before Christ.
I think I would have liked Socrates. I would have liked to watch him question dogmatic intellectuals and demonstrate they held contradictory beliefs whose arguments fell apart in their own explanations.
Certainly I don’t agree with everything he taught, but do agree with his position on soul care. He stressed that a human being must care for his soul more than anything else. He concluded people cared more about wealth, reputation, and physical appearance at the high cost of neglecting their soul. Seems not much has changed in 2500 years.
In his own pursuit of a healthy soul, it appears as though he reached the end of himself. Socrates is famously known for concluding, “All I know is that I know nothing.” This is a dead-end from the father of philosophy. How depressing to think one might spend so much energy for the care of their soul only to bemoan knowing nothing. It's a humble statement for sure. But leads me to wonder if it is the conclusion of the one who processed their soul in their own human strength. Without divine mercy, supernatural forgiveness, and renewal by God’s Spirit, a soul remains in a desperate and unredeemed state.
If humans are to examine their soul, they need God’s protective assistance by His Spirit. It is a dangerous, dead-end work to examine your own soul without God’s mercy. Jesus knows our frame and in His wisdom has determined we should look within with Him, and not alone.
Come to me. Follow me. Trust in me. Believe in me. Sit at my feet. Learn from me. Stretch forth your hand. Look to me. Wait on me. Cast your cares on me. Ask. Keep asking. Call on me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things you DO NOT KNOW.
Processing with God is contrary to exclusive focus on your soul by yourself. Meditating alone, ruminating on your own thoughts and feelings is something we obsessively do. However, that type of approach leads to despair, anxiety, fanning flames of fear, disillusionment, lies as foundation, self-worship, self-hate etc.
Of examining one’s own soul, one of God’s poets wrote-
“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?”
Left to our own thoughts, we despair. Inspirational thought is fleeting. Self-talk disappoints.
Whereas God’s way concludes with hearts rejoicing in his salvation, trusting in His mercy and goodness, having their minds renewed, their souls redeemed, and promises of new beginnings every day. In his hands our souls receive supernatural breath of life by His Spirit.
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”--
the things God has prepared for those who love him--
The things that God has prepared for those who love him… The things that God has prepared for those who love him… Repeat that to yourself over and over and realize there are things prepared for you...
How can I see what my eyes can’t see? How can I hear what my ears can’t hear? How can I conceive what my mind cannot conceive?
Is this another empty philosophy, another dead end? No. The scripture above ends like this-
These things God has revealed to us by His Spirit- 1 Corinthians 2:10.
By God’s Spirit, He promises I can see what no human eye can see. I can hear what no human ear can hear. I can conceive and understand what no human mind has conceived. I can know the thoughts of God by the Spirit of God!
God does not give a spirit that comes from the world but the Spirit who is from God. He did this that we may understand what God has freely given us. Children of God are not to be taught in human wisdom; but in words taught by the Spirit, receiving spiritual realities with Spirit taught words. The person without the Spirit of God considers this foolishness and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit is given privilege to make judgments about all things, but that person is not subject to another human making judgments about them or left to the severe limitation of their own human judgments. The person with the Spirit has the mind of Christ and the one who instructs one with the mind of Christ is the Spirit of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:9-16).
Do you love him? If so, there is a world of spiritual gift and promise and life for the care of your soul.
... the things God has prepared for those who love him--
If you want to love him and want to believe and want what He promises, it is for you too! He knows your frame. He is merciful. He is willing to reveal His nature to the one who longs to love Him yet struggles with things like shame, fear, anger, unbelief etc. Just be willing and try and He will lovingly penetrate your self-protective walls with divine love and healing, and fill you with Himself!
There is more, so much more for those who look up and extend hands to receive good things from God! With God, all things are possible. With God, souls are set free! Invite wisdom through wonder! Through Christ and His Spirit we successfully pursue abundant life, soul prosperity, and a place of honor in His presence! The ultimate soul care!
“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he had been good to me.”- Psalm 13:5
Come and spend time with Him. Walk with Him and practice talking with Him. Learn of His good nature and receive His tender mercies. Find rest for your soul in His presence.
You are invited to do this at a short Sabbath retreat on Saturday June 16th. Please visit the calendar page to sign up. The time will be reflective and revitalizing. No one is expected to share in groups and individual privacy and processing will be honored. We’ll start as a group with a preparatory meditation; then you will have time to walk alone within the park (or sit quietly in the park- your preference) assisted by a simple meditative exercise of your choice. We’ll gather as a group for a meditation after the walk to root our hearts more deeply into the love and promises of Christ. The time is meant to refresh and renew! More detail will come to those who sign up. Hope you join!
You should not expect to receive anything from the LORD…- from James 1:5-8
Who should not expect to receive anything?
The one who doubts…
God is challenging me to remember some times of breakthrough. Times that he broke down walls hindering His Spirit. It came to mind this week in my bible study group. A scripture came up that took me back in time to a good memory. It was from John 7. In it, Jesus spoke loudly to a large crowd and said,
“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
Jesus was at a “Living Water” festival when he said this, which in Jewish culture is a holy festival known as the Feast of Tabernacles. It is a time of year they are to celebrate for 8 days the harvest that God provided that season. Part of their celebration ended up including thanking God for sending living water from Heaven to water the crops and sustain their lives. Jesus used this opportunity to boldly declare that He was the living water sent from Heaven. He wanted people to know that He was the drink that would not only satisfy all physical need; but would produce a continual flow of living water to renew hearts within. Radical.
I remember being so intrigued by this scripture about living water flowing within. At that time I was a Christian for maybe 3 years, too young of a believer to hold too firmly to any limiting belief. I had just rededicated my life to God after repenting of treating Him like a genie in a bottle and of major disobedience. He gave me a new start filled with grace by promoting me in my job (when I should have been fired instead), moving me to a beautiful ocean setting in San Clemente, and establishing me in a strong bible believing church (Calvary Chapel Capo Beach). His forgiveness towards me was such a relief and lead me to surrender to His promptings. I felt that He was emphasizing that I was to learn how to study the Bible and be in fellowship groups. So for the first time I was beginning to really look at scripture in context, to consider what it was saying, apply it, and to pay attention to how the Spirit revealed Himself in believers around me.
At that time, if you asked me, I could say that I felt His presence here and there; but I could not say I felt a “flow” within. At this time I was attending 3 Sunday morning services, a mid week service, and a Sunday evening service. You would think I would have been quite familiar with a flow of His Spirit within from all that church time; but I was not! Church hours do not add up to more spirit. It can quite easily add up to more lifeless religion.
God wants relationship, authentic and surrendered, in order to "flow" within us. And I had just come off a season of major disobedience. So while He was being very good to me; He was also going slow with me. We do not realize that God is much like Joseph in the way he tested his brothers before there was freedom of fellowship again. see Genesis chapters 42-45. God can go slow with us, keeping us in a place to test our motive and cause us to yearn for more. It worked with me. I was very thirsty within and needed strong, satisfying drink. I wanted more of anything more to receive. I wanted any promise Jesus spoke of and this one for living water flowing within intrigued me. I believed God could produce that flow of His life giving spirit within me in greater measure. I didn't limit myself with belief that I was already filled and there was no more. I did not put up hands that said "no", I put up hands which freed me to be filled up to receive new life... again.
Now some are probably already arguing in their head how unscriptural this statement is. And to those I say “phooeeeeey on youeeeeey”. I’m very aware of the biblical position of believers being filled with the Spirit at the point of belief; and the argument that the flow Jesus is talking about references the Holy Spirit entering believers who have faith in Christ. Yes I believe that; and experienced that filling at the point of belief. But then my flesh and will disobeyed the leading of the spirit and I spent 3 years experiencing a quenching of the Holy Spirit’s presence. I never questioned my salvation; but I desperately longed for more of God and the promise of more.
Now 22 years in to my relationship with God, I see how boring the Christian life becomes when we stop believing for more. And I’m feeling challenged to not surrender to belief that limits God. I feel very strongly about stoking childlike faith in prayer that produces maturity. That may seem contradictory; but it is not. Remaining childlike keeps you in a place of awe and wonder. It also produces greater trust in God and strengthens a life that is founded on the radical truth of Scripture. And it keeps life in the Spirit dynamic to produce a supernatural wisdom that is necessary for the intensifying spiritual battle of our times. Don't look down on little children; God vanquishes the enemy through their cries, Psalm 8:2. Plus, God answers childlike requests and promises to those who delight in Him, He shall give them the desires of their heart.
“Most Christians have lost the life of their heart and with it, their romance with God.”
― John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of God
What happened to my prayer for living water flowing within? Well He answered of course! I started feeling His presence like water within! And I saw that He tied it to my delighting in Him and surrendering. He was lifting me out of a deep depression in this season and healing deep places of brokenness. I kept clinging to Him, praising Him, longing for more, and letting Him wipe every tear. I remember telling one of my pastors that I was beginning to feel the flow within. I remember how happy and joyful that new reality felt! I remember how thankful I was that the life of Jesus was flowing within me in a palpable way! I remember realizing it was something no one could steal from me; but was indeed SOMEONE I could quench and grieve within, 1 Thessalonians 5:19 and Ephesians 4:30. The contrast was a critical lesson for me to get.
Do not quench the Spirit- 1 Thessalonians 5:19.
What quenches the Spirit? Well there are lots of flesh based things to list, some ideas found in both scripture sections just referenced. But my conviction for today is about delighting in God and being responsive to God revealing His truth to you. And realize God is outside of our box of neatly packed convictions.
I can share another example of God upending spirit limiting theology which teaches that believers are only filled once. Around 2006, I was now in New York, and was leading a prayer ministry at my church. One of my team members became insistent on me being “filled with the Spirit”. In her terms it meant that I needed to speak in tongues in order for this to be true. I knew this was not biblical; but did I argue with her and dismiss her? I was very tempted; but I felt God softening me to go along with what she wanted to do. I caution that at this point, I was pretty grounded in biblical truth and felt like He had readied me to love her through her strong conviction and be open to whatever God did. I knew she loved God and was being sincere. So I positioned myself in childlike belief and longed for more.
We arranged that she would come over to my apartment for the “speaking in tongues” to happen. Note, that 8 years prior I became a Christian in a church that encouraged speaking in tongues. I had already prayed for it several times with no obvious manifestation of the gift of tongues. I had studied 1 Corinthians chapters 12, 13, and 14 regarding gifts of the Spirit and had come to the conclusion it wasn't a gift the Holy Spirit was giving me. But either way, I decided not to be held to that as a conviction and submitted to praying what she wanted me to pray; and longed for whatever God would deposit. I followed all her instructions. I waited. Nothing happened.
However, in the middle of the night I woke up with a phrase that I was speaking on my lips. I quickly got a piece of paper and wrote down phonetically what I was repeating; because I had no idea what it was, if anything at all. I asked for interpretation, 1 Corinthians 14:27. It took awhile to decipher and find correct spellings; but God helped me. It sounded Hebrew so I searched each word one by one and discovered it was indeed Hebrew language! Here is the phrase:
“El Yah shabbach ni ach.”
This may not be in correct grammatical order for Hebrew. I have no idea. It doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that God was answering my openness for more, honoring kindness I expressed towards my friend, and joyfully giving me one of His promises. This phrase translates as:
“My God is Jehovah who soothes, stills, and calms wailing, mourning brethren.”
These Hebrew words are found in Strong’s Concordance as H452, H7623, H5204, and H0251.
Powerful! I was awe struck and humbled from of measure of unbelief regarding tongues. It still makes me tear up (in a good way) when I read what it means. The God of Heaven filled me with more of His heart in order to more deeply root me in truth. He is ALMIGHTY and He is a God who heals emotions and soothes the souls of his people! That message is meant for you because the Spirit is distributed for the building up of the body of Christ, i.e YOU!
How sweet is that? How romantic? How beautiful? Fall in love with God! Long for more!
Are you one of His children? If not, may you have urgency to call on His name to be supernaturally adopted as one of His own. Do you know the flow of His life within? If not, may you consider what is quenching or grieving the Spirit. Have you lost hope? Is your faith lukewarm, stagnant water? Do you limit your belief in your head and hold stubbornly to theological positions that stifle the Spirit? Have you lost childlike wonder? Would you say you ever had it? How much unbelief is hidden within your scripture positions? Is God neatly packed in your box? He escaped your box a long time ago when He rose from the grave. Nothing contains Him. Unbelief is something to meditate on and confess to God. Unbelief quenches the Spirit.
Matthew 13:57-58- And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
Be very careful not to dishonor the miraculous Savior. Be not offended at his all surpassing power. Honor the Father who talks to His children and tells His children to ask for more.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” - Luke 11:11-13
There is no reason to fear the Spirit. God is a God of order, 1 Corinthians 14:40. He knows our frame. He is not a God who wreaks havoc within. He is tender, gentle, and wants to soothe, calm, and still you within. This is done by His Spirit. Invite more. Long for more. Believe Him for more. Sit with Him; learn how to spend time with Him. Meditate on His Word. You are invited to a Sabbath Day’s walk with Him on Saturday June 16th to do just that. Visit the calendar page for more information and to sign up! Believe for more! Set aside strong head argument and confess hardened heart in order to soften to awe and wonder, see how it affects how He flows within!
A couple of opportunities will be available this summer for a unique Sabbath time of rest. The first one will be on Saturday, June 16th starting at 10am. The meditation time will be a modified retreat style and held locally at Channing H. Philbrick Park (formerly Linear Park) in Penfield. The shelter has been reserved. A general overview of the time includes a preparatory meditation under the shelter, a meditative trail walking exercise, personal time, a meditation for soul rest, worship prayer circles, and opportunity for personal prayer. Attendees are encouraged to bring a lunch to enjoy fellowship with others who stay after the meditation is over. The park has wonderful trails, streams, and plenty of places for quiet reflection and reading, so come prepared to make a nice day of it!
Jesus didn’t rush; and Jesus walked with people in wonderful ways on Sabbath days. As he walked, he shared himself with his followers and disciples. He taught them deep spiritual truths. He offered grace. He revealed kingdom secrets meant to lead to soul rest and renewal. He initiated healing. He opened people’s hearts to respond to the Gospel message. He defended his disciples. He rebuked religious hypocrisy. He cast down religious argument. He completely restored people. He taught with authority that left people in awe and amazed at his wisdom. He delivered people from impure spirits. He responded to the prayers and inquiries of his disciples. He touched people through the laying on of his hands. He humiliated his opponents. He ruled the Sabbath day of rest and redefined the Sabbath day by becoming eternal rest for all who call on His name (Matthew 12:8, Hebrews 4:9-10).
Because of Jesus’ acts of love, demonstrated divine authority, and words of truth, people walked with him. They followed him, crowded him, traveling long distances without food and water to be near him. Some mocked, but many praised him. Many delighted in the wonderful things that Jesus was doing.
On a Sabbath, while in a grainfield, he declared, “I tell you something greater than the temple is here." Matthew 12:6. He was declaring that being in a field with God was greater than false piety in a man made temple without His presence.
And despite it being a Sabbath day, Jesus did not rest from His work. He defended himself saying in John 5:17, “To this very day My Father is at His work, and I too am working.” He was revealing Himself as the Sabbath we are to seek. His final act of creation was for the salvation of souls and eternal rest in His presence. God made the Sabbath holy by offering Himself as the perfected work through which all may find rest from their own imperfect work. On the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished.” His work is finished and your works are not needed. Your presence and belief in Him is wanted though. Come and spend some time with Jesus. Walk with him; talk with him, consider him, open up your soul for His Sabbath rest to refresh and renew. This is a great event to bring a friend! Sign up on the Calendar page! And feel free to visit Penfield Recreation's page on Channing Philbrick park located here.
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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+ 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!"