I received a few responses from the last email I sent out! Thank you! And see pic above for one! It really encouraged me! I greatly appreciate hearing from you and getting a little glimpse into how this ministry is impacting you. It's an honor to go into the presence of the LORD with you!
Note that in her message to me, she shared her word of "PRESENCE"! What a great word! It is a different way to say the word I shared, "Rivers of Living Water"!
God wants us. He longs for time with us. He will supernaturally transform us as we go deeper with Him.
C.M asked if I had a few scriptures to share with her. Here is one of a few I sent...
Psalm 42:2- My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
There is a thirst within. Jesus designed us this way. Our soul thirsts.
His presence is everything. Living water sustains us. He has a supernatural supply and flow to pour into us, that it may also pour out through us!
What scriptures would you think of to share with C.M? Send me an email! I'll forward to her!
And I'd still love to hear your "word" or "theme" for 2023! Reply to this email and let me know!
For going into 2023, we'll kick off with prayer inspiration around rivers of living water as the theme for exercises and meditations!
And as we enter the New Year, here is a prayer for you. Agree with me. Pray it out loud changing any language that aligns with your heart. Let it challenge you to go deeper, to cry out, to express longing for more of Him!
LORD God, I’ve wondered about some things that have happened this year and the whisper that eventually came after a couple of months of wrestling was, “I am the author of your faith.”
That word settled me. It helped me let go and trust you more. You allow things to take us deeper.
I pray that this one can see their confusion in the light of your hand intervening to author their faith. ("Yes God help me see.")
May they see each challenge as opportunity to deepen in trust with you. ("Yes God help me see.")
I pray for them to be able to see the highs and lows of their year in terms of your divine intervention, even when it is so hard to perceive. ("Yes God, help me see.")
You are jealous for us God. You establish our boundaries. You bring cleansing, correction, assistance, comfort and help. You see what is a hindrance to our growth. You want to reveal our hearts to ourselves. You see us clearly. We do not see ourselves clearly. You have to reveal our own hearts to us.
You show us hard things. May we admit what you are showing us. May we not resist the cleansing and sanctifying work you are doing. May we surrender.
You show us our faith. May we follow your voice and be willing to go deeper with you. Help us rejoice when we see that when push comes to shove, we choose YOU over the lesser things.
You allow cuts in relationships. May we trust you in that process and cling to you, knowing you are jealous for us; and no one is to take prominence over you. Help us keep you in the right place LORD, not letting children or spouse or pets or career or others or ourselves, take precedence over you being first in our hearts. May we be willing to take bold stands when necessary and not buckle under pressure to people-please.
You protect us from things we aren’t aware are dangerous. Thank you for intervening when we can’t see or perceive clearly. Be with us in our life decisions and re-direct us.
You've been faithful. You've provided. We have so many reasons to reflect and be thankful. We've had victories. Help this one reflect and see your Hand and Supply.
As we head into the coming year, help us hear your call to come higher. You want more of us. You want us to let go of fleshly things. You want us to take initiative. Your word encourages us to humble ourselves. May we do so. May we consider starting the year in a fast. Let us lay fear and excuse aside. You will supernaturally sustain us.
Less of us Jesus. More of you. Take us deeper into the flow… rivers of living water within. We want refreshing of your life within us, a supply that pours out so that others too may drink.
Be with this one. Establish them. Lead and guide them into new life, new beginnings, new hope each and every day of 2023. Amen.
Today, we’ll go into ancient times and take a look at how children were viewed under Roman rule and why Jesus’ circumcision is an important detail not to skip over!
Yesterday, those who receive emails from the ministry got a blog devotional about the "science" behind Jesus being circumcised on Day 8. It was also yesterday's podcast. (Scroll down our podcast page and listen to Wed 12/21 or find Peace Be Still Daily Prayer Download on your favorite podcast app and listen there. 80% of our listeners use Apple podcasts!)
Today, we continue where we began yesterday, taking notice of Luke 2:21 which says that He was officially named on the 8th day, the same day that he was circumcised. Big deal? Yes or no?
Turns out that detail is pretty interesting and very important! Let's look more closely at ancient culture to understand.
In the time of Jesus, the Romans ruled. And so we are to take note that Luke writes his account to Theophilus, Luke 1:3. He calls him “most excellent Theophilus”. In Roman culture, this implies a Roman title of respect and official importance. So we can make a strong assumption that Theophilus was an important Roman official. Luke also writes the book of Acts to Theophilus. See Acts 1:1. Luke is clear that his account is an orderly account, Luke 1:3.
In his Gospel account to Theophilus, Luke carefully includes the decree issued by Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. It is the reason Joseph and Mary go back to Bethlehem. They are to be “registered”. There is an official count happening of the entire world, Luke 2:1-5.
To understand this better, I'm referencing an exhaustive work written by a man name O M Bakke. It’s called “When Children became people- The Birth of Childhood in Early Christianity”. In it, he explores theological and social history of Greco-Roman and early Christians towards abortion and child prostitution, pedagogy, moral upbringing, and their value within society. It is a shocking and insightful read, especially considering the direction our world is now heading, or should I say reverting to. I highly recommend it.
Related to birth, in the Roman way of life, Bakke notes the father was LEGALLY allowed to decide whether his newborn would live or die! Think of that in modern view. He was legally allowed to decide if the newborn would live or die after birth. He could do so within the first 8-9 days.
So if he accepted the child as a family member, they would hold a ritual known as a day of purification. It was on this day that a child was given its name and LEGALLY REGISTERED. The ceremony for boys was held on the 8th day, and the ceremony for girls was on the 9th day. Under Roman law, the ceremony marked the child's social birth, as compared to biological birth. Read these 2 pages from Bakke's book below.
Pretty upsetting right?
With Roman rule in mind, re-read Luke 2:21 again-
And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
Luke is making it clear that Jesus was officially counted in a worldwide census! As a Roman official, Theophilus could check the record! Can you hear him ordering the Bethlehem census be brought to him?
And just think about this detail as it relates to the many arguments that Jesus never existed. "Jesus is a fictional figure. Jesus is a fairy tale." No. He was real and counted in Caesar Augustus' worldwide census! The promise of Good News for all was included in a worldwide census! The most important One to ever be counted and included in a census!
How awesome is it that we have this holy record! That Luke wrote his account to a Roman official, including significant details that validate Christ, not just under Jewish covenant of circumcision, but along with Roman mandate of legal registration! How awesome that he lets Theophilus know the words of the Angel to Mary…
Luke 1:31-33- 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
This might cause quite a stir within Theophilus don’t you think? If you were a highly influential government official today and received word of a king being born whose kingdom would have no end, would you take a closer look at the careful details shared about him?
May this stir you to notice the tiny details in scripture that maybe you gloss over, skip over, or dismiss off-handedly. Meditate on scripture. The revelation of Luke’s intent to highlight Jesus being officially registered came as a result of digging deeper and wrestling with scripture. Dig deeper to uncover the hidden treasure!!!
NEXT STEP: Consider how thousands of years before Roman rule of 8 days for males to be official and socially registered, God picked the 8th day for males to be circumcised. This brought them under the holy covenant given to Abraham and his descendants! Read about the covenant of circumcision in Genesis 17! As a believer, you are included under that covenant. How does it affect you? Do you know by memory what it includes before reading it again?
We are so blessed to live in a time of solid biblical resources. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and lead you to Spirit filled revelation! May you and yours have a blessed day of celebrating our eternal King and His coming Kingdom! The greatest gift of all!
(It's year-end. Does this ministry bless you? Will you consider a year end donation? Click the donate button above to give through PayPal. Thank you so much for saying a prayer for the ministry’s reach and impact by the power of the Holy Spirit!)
The picture above is part of my skinny pencil tree. It's filled with olive wood ornaments from Jerusalem. I wanted olive wood souvenirs when I went to Israel in 2015, but they were pricey, so I decided to get something when I got home.
It took a couple of years to find something I wanted, but a few years ago, there was a huge lot of olive wood ornaments from a former shop owner for auction on Ebay; and I won the bid! I got around 150 ornaments for $20 plus shipping. :). I love them! They perfectly fill my 7' pencil tree!
There are various kinds of camels, shepherds, manger scenes, stars, candles, wise men, donkeys, angels, crosses, roosters, doves, Mary with Jesus. Like a little girl can get lost staring into her miniature doll house world, I get lost in my tree. They remind me of that trip, especially our time in Old Jerusalem & in the ancient olive grove just a Sabbath day's walk from the city. The walk is about 3000 ft.
Here is a picture from the photo journal I put together. I'm looking at Jerusalem from within the grove, standing on the Mount of Olives.
This is how Christmas hits my spirit now. For Advent, I think of the sights and sounds of that trip, and enter in, as much as possible, the ancient scene of my promised King's arrival. I meditate upon possible feelings and thoughts of my ancient family. For today, I was thinking about Joseph's mental wrestling after learning that Mary was pregnant.
It's the inspiration for today's Friend Friday Advent exercise! Note--- Advent exercises started on Monday. I hope you follow along to listen to all!
You can read below to get most of today's devotional and exercise. And then listen to it, so you can participate in the the prayer and processing not included below, click here- https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/friend-fri-advent-ancient-prophecy-and-prayer-of-wisdom/id1506101286?i=1000588516738
(And if this ministry blesses you, will you consider a year end donation? Link at the bottom! Thank you so much!)
Joseph had relationship problems.
As do we.
Joseph reasoned on what to do.
So do we.
He went through the scenarios in his mind and came up with a plan.
So do we.
But God intervened.
Scripture is clear that Joseph honored God and the laws of God, Matthew 1:19. God intervened in his thoughts.
If we honor God and follow Jesus, God will intervene in our thoughts too!
God sent an Angel of the LORD to cast down the arguments wrestling around in Joseph’s mind. The Angel came with a message to hold his thoughts captive to Christ.
He told him, it wasn’t what he thought it was with Mary.
He let him know that he was intricately woven into a 700-year old prophecy about the Messiah.
Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.” That is found in Isaiah 7:14.
You too are part of an ancient prophecy spoken of by Moses in Deuteronomy 33:3. “Surely it is you who love the people; all the holy ones are in your hand. At your feet they all bow down, and from you receive instruction,”
It is you being spoken of in this ancient passage! You are included in those who bow down at His feet to receive instruction! Tell people you are in the bible and then show them this passage! He loves you. He is holding you in His hand!
The Angel of the LORD also affirmed Joseph as a son of the royal line of David.
The Spirit of the LORD affirms to us that we are God’s child.- Romans 8:16.
The Angel of the LORD told Joseph, “Do not be afraid…”
The LORD is telling us, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
The Angel reframed Joseph’s thoughts. He told him to take Mary as his wife, because the baby in her womb was conceived through the Holy Spirit. He told him that she would give birth to a Son with a capital "S". And that Joseph was to name Him Jesus, because Jesus would save His people from their sins.
He saves all who call upon His Name, who by faith, believe. He can reframe your thoughts today and give you that wisdom you need!
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
Let’s pray... (for this part, listen to the podcast!)
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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!