Hi folks! Things have been very busy with ministry! Still producing a daily prayer podcast, have begun a new private Facebook group, and have held some private meditation sessions! Had a men's group a couple of weeks ago. Also have an upcoming group session this week. God is good!
The video above is a welcome video I shared in the group to welcome new members. We have over 225 members for the first week! It's very encouraging! I think it is a sign that people are making more time for prayer and obviously are being driven to engage online because of current circumstances with social distancing.
In the video I share a welcome to new members as well as personal testimony of God supernaturally healing me of depression. I hope you listen in.
For the Facebook group, Peace Be Still Daily Prayer Download is a private group and requires an invite for you or you can request to join. I hope you consider it, there have been good engagement so far. There is a link at the end of the video to find the group on Facebook. Otherwise just search for "Peace Be Still Daily Prayer Download" on Facebook.
Now related to current situation of the virus, during times of intercession, here are some scriptures that God has been putting on my heart over the last month:
It would be interesting for you to read through those scriptures and see what the LORD speaks to you. It's an excellent time to develop a deeper walk with the LORD. I wonder how He has been speaking to you during this time? If you are willing, let me know in the comments!
Here is the content of Podcast 15 if you want to review it first and then listen.
Episode 15- “she judged him faithful… he gave glory to God”
Hello my name is Gina, your prayer partner from Into the Waters. Our promise that brings peace today comes from Philippians 4:13- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Let’s pray as we begin. “Lord Jesus, I humbly ask for your power to rest on each one as they listen. Open their ears to hear, open their eyes to see, give them the ability to understand what the Spirit of the LORD wants to say to them today. Position them by faith to believe and judge you as faithful.”
Yesterday’s episode shared that for God to be your strength means he is a PLACE of strength. As your place of strength, he is a hiding place for you, and one who pours out his strength by dispatching supernatural forces to surround you and deliver you. If you haven’t yet listened, please listen to yesterday. But for today, instead of the focus of him surrounding us with his power, the focus is his miraculous strength pouring out through you."
Listen to these scriptures- You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 2 Cor 4:7
Though you are merely a clay vessel which is fragile and powerless, yet the excellence of his power and strength is to be shown through you… as being from God, not yourself.
Who really believes this? Who really believes the miraculous power of God will be poured out through their frailty? A woman named Sarah did.
Hebrews 11:11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.
By faith… big words. She judged God faithful, more really big words.
If we are honest, they are so challenging.
Write down this question. What is the state of my faith? How am I judging God right now, as faithful or unfaithful?
Some seasons our faith is great with full faith in God. In others, we waver.
We are in a difficult season right now due to the virus. God wants us to position by faith, and judge him faithful.
How are you judging God right now, as faithful or unfaithful? Make a note to talk to God about that. Unburden and ask for revelation so that you judge Him correctly.
Because when you judge God as faithful and by faith believe, God will do amazing things through you. Scripture says that Abraham (Sarah’s husband and known as the father of our faith) grew strong in His faith as He gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised.
Abraham had excellent opinion of God and his faith grew strong as He gave God glory.
The promise of God’s miracle working power being poured out through you is only activated by faith and good opinion of God. Abraham and Sarah had a clear vision and promise from God. So for this kind of miraculous experience, you have to have a promise from God. It has to be personal to you. Sarah had a promise from God. She would give birth at a time in her life when her womb was dead. She judged God faithful to deliver. She laughed at first; then she tried to make it happen on her own power; but somewhere along the way, she stopped reasoning and she believed. So, He poured his miraculous strength into Sarah and supernaturally enabled her to give birth to a promised son at the ripe old age of 90 years old.
Many of us also laugh at the absurd thought God could do something miraculous through us. Often we may grab a promise; but then attempt receive it by striving in our own power. Somewhere along the way we need to stop reasoning and believe in the supernatural strength of God manifesting in us.
Write down this question. What promise has God given you that requires His power?
Here are some promises that are yours by faith in Jesus- You are adopted and heir to the kingdom of God. You are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms. Do you see yourself there? Do you see yourself seated with Christ? You have been given the authority of Christ Jesus, the maker of Heaven and earth. He is King of kings. You are part of his royal lineage. Do you see a crown on your head? He has promised to give you a crown of beauty instead of ashes. Are you holding ashes of death or do you see yourself as crowned in beauty? You are charged by Christ to do greater works than he did. He will do whatever you ask in His name so that Jesus can continue to bring glory to the Father. You are his masterpiece created in Christ Jesus to do good works that he planned long ago for you to do. Do you believe you will do greater works than Jesus? Boy is that a challenging one. Yet he said it. Do you believe it? You are Jesus’ friend. You have been made whole in Jesus Christ. With God as your shepherd, you lack nothing, not one thing. You are more than a conqueror through him who loves you. Since God is for you, who can be against you? You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are the apple of his eye. You are forgiven. You are chosen by God, holy and dearly loved. Your soul is sealed by the Holy Spirit he has deposited in you. Your life is now hidden with Christ in God. You are precious in His sight. Your life is not your own, you’ve been bought with a price. Have you surrendered? Not your will, but his will? It is key to receiving supernatural strength.
As an exercise for deeper meditation, which of those promises I just read struck you? Find your promise. There are over 3K promises in the bible. After you find your promise, position by faith!
That gives you a sense of an episode if you haven't listened yet! God rewards those who earnestly seek Him. He provides for those who seek first the Kingdom of God. Seek God first! Blessings on any who take that time with God. Hope some of the prayer inspiration we are offering is a blessing also!
Excited to introduce "Peace Be Still!" Our daily prayer podcast!
Into the Waters has introduced an interactive prayer podcast! Often in surveys, participants indicate they would like a way to experience interactive prayer exercises from the sessions on their own. The podcast is one way for that to happen. You can get a taste of the scripture reflections, interactive lessons, breath prayers, and biblical meditations that make up longer sessions.
As well, the Coronavirus really provided the impetus behind it's sudden start. The effects the virus is having on our daily lives is to be producing spiritual urgency to draw near to God. It definitely has given me a jolt, a resoluteness to implore people to draw near to the Lord! I hope you are feeling that urgency from the Spirit!
Last week, email subscribers got an introductory email from me for the first 4 podcasts. Since then, 5 more episodes have been released. Note, there is a new tab on the website for the podcast. Click here to access, just scroll down that page and hit the play button for each episode. It is also available on Apple Podcasts, Spreaker, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Castbox, Please save it as a favorite on your podcast player so you receive notifications of new episodes! Have received excellent feedback so far! Would love to hear your feedback on it also! Please post a review wherever you may listen!
As introduction, review the summaries of each episode released so far:
Believing this new resource will be a true blessing and gift that will inspire you to linger longer with God in prayer, to draw near and know Christ!
Into the Waters Ministry is a 501c3 ministry and is supported by free-will offerings. Please consider making a donation to help us produce and distribute our interactive prayer resources. Blessings!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Hope that you had a memorable time of worship and fellowship with God and others over this holiday! We are just a couple of days beyond Christmas so giving you a post birth scripture account to meditate upon. Maybe you are just finding time to wind down after the hustle and bustle of the season. Hoping you take a few moments to sit quietly with God and consider Simeon's joy! His joy is to be our joy as well!
Luke 2: 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the LORD's Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 "Sovereign LORD, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel."
Verse 25 uses a phrase "the consolation of Israel". Simeon was a man who had a life mission to see it. Consolation is a calling near for comfort, solace, encouragement, refreshment. Clearly Simeon was a good man who was burdened for God to draw near His people as One who comforts. He did not want to die before seeing that promised Messiah, and God was good to share His secret with Simeon! He sent the Holy Spirit to tell Simeon that indeed he would see the promised Messiah!
It's such a tender, awe inspiring moment, which I think Ron DiCianni's artwork of "Simeon's Moment" above captures. There is inexpressible elation in his face! There are tears of joy and clearly some sound of holy praise coming from a place deep within. He held the Holy Promise in his arms! There was no doubt in Simeon. He recognized the promise as foretold by the Holy Spirit. He was led by the Holy Spirit to enter the temple at the exact right time! And Mary and Joseph were also led straight to him to perform the circumcision, cleanse Mary, and accept their offerings.
Have you ever imagined holding the Son of God in your arms? Do you have a heart response similar to Simeon? God's greatest and highest call is for us to love Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind. Love deepens the more we realize how desperately we need God's forgiveness, the reason the holy child was sent.
Luke 7:47- Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Jesus knows the depth of your love and whether it is surface based or if you are one to unashamedly bow at his feet like the wise men did. Do you read that as a guilt message or an opportunity to more deeply experience the goodness of God? The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy, Psalm 103:8. He is right there waiting and longing for more time with you. Are you satisfied with where you are with God or do you long for more? He promises to openly reward those who go into their prayer closets and talk with Him, Matthew 6:6!
Meditate upon whether or not you are moved to emotion when you worship God. Can you connect with inexpressible joy because of God's love and sacrifice for your sins? Are you free in your time with God to unashamedly pour out your thanksgiving and marvel at His holiness? Do you have goals and longings related to experiencing God at a deeper level in the coming year?
Into the Waters will continue holding online sessions to give you an opportunity to linger in God's presence and deepen your relationship with Him. The sessions help you sit with the LORD, talk to Him, and get to know Him better. He is openly rewarding those who have been attending! A January session will be announced next week! May you join!
Until then, meditate on God as consolation, as comforter. Close your eyes; and do what Simeon did. Hold the Son of God as a newborn, born to die for you. Have you held a baby with a thought, "This child was born to die for me?" It's ludicrous to even think it, except if you are talking about Christ the Messiah. Note during your meditation that Simeon told Mary some very profound truths about who the child was, one who would pierce souls, including her own. See Luke 2:35. If any thoughts of fear or condemnation come up, remember again He is CONSOLATION (COMFORTER). Evaluate your emotional attachment to God. Review areas where you need more joy, where you need a new level of intimacy that brings freedom with God as your Comforter. Ask God to wake you up if you have no passion or desire to press in for more of God. Time is so short! May you invest now in deep fellowship with the heart of God! It is where your life can be made new by God's tender mercies every morning. Great is God's faithfulness, Lamentations 3:23!
Isaiah 9:6- For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
If these blogs have been a blessing to you, please consider an end of year donation! Thank you for your consideration! See our donate page to make a tax deductible offering!
As the year comes to an end, did you experience the change you hoped for? What is the current reading on your hope, joy, and peace meter? Are you continually experiencing peace like a river within? Do you need a recharge? Do you need a supernatural gift this season that takes you into the new year with anticipation? Really consider it, do you need some deep rest in heart, mind, and soul? Close your eyes and ask yourself that question.
In the beginning God created... In the beginning, God's power was executed through His spoken Word and the Holy Spirit. He hasn't changed. The Word and the Holy Spirit of Jesus are still His agents of change. The biggest question for us is, "Do we want that change?" Will we open ourselves up to linger in His presence for the supernatural newness He offers?
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.- James 1:17
Last Friday I did another "Lingering with the God of Hope" online session for a private group of leaders and their team. It was a group of 12 made up of men and women with ages that ranged from young adult to seasoned adult. We had a chance to debrief together at the end of the session. The things they shared, and the breakthroughs they experienced, were the same as in every other group. They received personal revelation and love relevant to their deepest needs within. Without disclosing too much, the bottom line is they heard from the heart of a good Father who affirmed them, comforted them, gently revealed truth, drew near to them, and deposited supernatural hope. The majority shed tears. Not tears of sorrow, but tears of joy and relief at the loving and supernatural touch of God! God was not dramatic with them. He didn't force himself on anyone or expose anyone. He led them like a Good Shepherd leads his sheep to lie down and rest, leading them beside quiet waters. The God of hope deposited joy and peace for an overflow of hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!
Experiencing this type of rest and quiet under the protective presence of God is a good and perfect gift sent from above. It is experienced by lingering in His presence, a discipline that needs to be practiced. It does require that we choose to schedule that kind of time. But it's not easy on our own to linger for a long time in prayer and meditation. Most people really struggle for spending some extended quiet, reflective time with God. That is why Into the Waters is offering these online sessions! We want to help you flow through the time, prompting you along in simple prayer and meditation exercises. God's Word and His Spirit do what He did in the beginning, hovers over our deep, sheds light and brings new life! In the hustle and bustle of your life, in the flurry of your unending thoughts, do you need those types of gifts this season?
If so you have an opportunity to join us on December 15th at 8pm EST. See button below to sign up! We are praying that you say yes. If you need more encouragement to do so, consider even more outcomes...
Over the last couple of weeks I have been meeting with a few of the folks who attended the November 2nd online session. I have already posted the survey results which can be found by clicking this link- NOV 2nd SURVEY RESULTS. However, there are more detailed accounts with powerful testimonies of real strongholds that were broken in attendees. A few shared those stories with me in detail. It so touched me that I have asked a couple to share their testimonies in a more public way. They agreed. So in the coming couple of months, we are finding a way to record those testimonies to be shared for the encouragement of others. Stay tuned!
Until then, ask yourself if you need a good and perfect gift from above this season. God makes it simple for us. His is a simple invitation, "Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest." Say "Yes!" His Word and His Spirit will be present to do the rest! This season, be filled to overflow with HOPE!
The quote of "I just can't take it anymore" is what I am hearing from people without hope, the other is a testimony full of renewed hope after an Into the Waters led meditation session done for a private group. As you read, evaluate if you lean more towards not being able to take it anymore or more towards, “This is the breakthrough I’ve needed for awhile.”
Regarding the first quote, a couple of days a week I talk with many, many people about what they are dealing with emotionally, mentally, and physically. It is a secular setting, not a ministry setting. I am not allowed to openly talk about God in this setting, which is very limiting and frustrating to me. There have been times however, where I broke protocol in gentle ways, out of intense burden. I simply share in some way, "I will be praying for you." It has always been well received. However for the 99.9% of distressing situations I hear about, I have to just do the best I can to offer words that comfort and acknowledge their pain. Would have to say of late, the words I offer are momentary, split seconds of kindness that don't take them beyond our call. Over the last 2 weeks have been deeply burdened by talking to a parent after their young child was raped, people whose sleeplessness is taking their sanity, anxiety and depression so severe people are going on disability, violent behaviors of family members seemingly possessed by "something" not of themselves, I am newly hearing and regularly hearing, "I just can't take it anymore." Their tone, their tears, their anger, their shaky voice says it all.
They need hope. And they are reaching out to medicine and doctors as they search.
What is hope exactly? Can it be trusted? In our dictionaries, hope is defined as "a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen". If that is as far as it goes, in my opinion, hope in and of itself as a concept is pretty shaky. Feelings are fleeting. We can have a feeling of hope to live a long life; but die at an early age. We can have a feeling of hope for a relationship to be "the one"; but end in rejection. Same for a hope for a good marriage; yet to end in divorce. We can have a feeling of hope for our children to prosper; but see them make bad decision after bad decision. We can hope for peace of mind; yet have crippling anxiety. Hope, in order for it to be true and life saving MUST have a cord of attachment to a source capable of manifesting the thing hoped for. But we don't see this qualification in our secular dictionaries. Yet, this is in fact how God defines hope in biblical dictionaries. It is defined as a literal cord of attachment that brings expectancy.
HOPE- Strongs 8615 tiqvâh, tik-vaw'; from H6960; (compare H6961) literally a cord (as an attachment); figuratively, expectancy:—expectation(-ted), hope, live, thing that I long for.
The word hope (tikvah) comes from the word kavah which means to wait by binding together, gathering for strength. The more cords are bound together, the stronger a rope is. The more weight it can hold, the more tension it can endure. These are pictures behind the strength that comes in waiting in God’s presence, attaching your hope to Him, having expectancy. Practical questions to examine would be:
Reviewing our hope through these questions takes courage, but is worth it. It is very hard when our hopes do not come to pass. Some of you are in a lot of pain right now because hopes have been dashed. However, these can be opportunities to ground ourselves anew in hope that alone comes from God. He is the God of hope. And regarding hope, if we are willing to strengthen our cords to Him, He will resurrect hope within us. it is His divine design that we overflow with hope by the Power of the Holy Spirit.
NIV- Romans 15:13- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
OVERFLOW OF HOPE>>>>>> Trusting God is key to being filled to joy and peace. Isn't that really the bottom-line request of all prayer... joy and peace? Your bank account can be overflowing; but if joy and peace elude you, what have you gained? You can be model skinny and have beauty that stops traffic; but if self scrutiny and continual dissatisfaction plague you, what have you gained? You can have a very successful career; but if loneliness and stress are your constant companions what is the point? We see the recent outcome of celebrities whose hope was in their children attending the best schools; but at what cost? The bottomline truth is that joy and peace come from the power of the Holy Spirit as you trust in God, not yourself or empty promises from the world.
So how is God-trust being developed in you? Are you experiencing an overflow of hope that comes from God? We all can be challenged by this question. It's a gentle reminder to invest in time before God's throne, to receive the joy and peace that He alone promises and delivers.
Here is a quote from someone who recently invested in lingering with God through an Into the Waters prayer and meditation session. See if you can see hope that came as a result.
"Thank you SO much for leading us on Thursday! It was a beautiful experience for me personally, and it was a breakthrough I have needed for awhile now. The revelation about (xxxxxx) was totally unexpected, but it continues to resonate so strongly with me. I have somehow put a limit on what God will do, and it definitely stems back to that season of my journey. I believe He will do those impossible, wonderful things for others, but not for me. I have dealt with this issue on so many levels and have felt peace along the way, but God not answering my prayers as I wanted at the time, has definitely affected how much I trust Him, I mean that deep, deep level of trust. Thank you for starting the process of tearing that false belief down in me and beginning another layer of healing."
God will tear down our false beliefs in order to bring another layer of healing and hope founded in His faithfulness, love, mercy, goodness, provision, etc. The power of the Holy Spirit deposits His life in those who trust! We are strengthened after waiting in His presence. Hope is renewed as our cord of attachment to God flows with new life from Him!
Do you need a fresh deposit of supernatural joy and peace, to overflow with hope from the Holy Spirit? In the Fall, Into the Waters will be holding some online group sessions on HOPE. These will be small groups of up to 10 at a time. Stay tuned for more announcements and sign up opportunities!
But for now meditate on the truth from Romans 15:13! Seed it into your heart by reading it in many translations. Reading it in many translations will do a couple of things.
NIV- Romans 15:13- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
NLT- I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
ESV- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Berean Study Bible- Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
KJV- Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
GNT- May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.
“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
Psalm 25:5 NIV
Vlog with personal testimony, importance of Holy Spirit, and Pentecost explanation. Plus, interactive prayer exercise.
Today’s blog I guess is really a Vlog, a video blog. Contains an encouragement to linger longer with God through a testimony I share. It was during a difficult time in my life. At this time, the Lord was developing in me a spiritual discipline of spending extended time with Him for healing. My sharing is meant to encourage you to linger with Him and to be open to the Holy Spirit for supernatural comfort, help, and truth that sets you free! And a brief mention is made of tomorrow being Pentecost. Learn what it is and how relevant it is for believers 2k+ years later. Reflect and ask for the promise given on Pentecost. The video ends with me praying for you!
Also, below is an interactive prayer session to inspire you to linger longer. Pray through part of Psalm 116 and wait in the presence of God for renewal! Blessings! (Note-Two videos on this post caused a delay in play, so the video exercise has been moved. It will be uploaded as a separate video on 6/9/19. Thank you.)
Happy Mother's Day! Mothers are given a very special purpose from God! In this blog, you will discover a mother's purpose by how God spells the word "mother". There is a deep meaning behind it. It goes far beyond merely birthing a child or raising children to adulthood. A true "mother" in God's eyes carries a lifetime of influence. A mother as God intends, is a strong force of nature to bind us in love like no other!
This Mother's Day I feel God challenging me to reflect on my mother through His eyes. So I've been reviewing and considering some of her ways, some of her emotions, and some of her words. It's been enlightening to reflect on her through God's meaning of a mother.
After doing an exercise of remembering and reflecting, I can feel God softening my heart. There is a deeper understanding into her ways. I can see why any family upset strikes her core and keeps her unsettled. God's definition of a mother is making me stop and appreciate her overly expressive kisses and hugs, to see why she still wants to sit on the couch and hold my hand, that even though I am over 50, she still wants me to stop so she can just look at my face. I roll my eyes in a lot of those moments and feel my adult self resisting. There are times when I can feel "too zoned in on" by her deeply intuitive nature that never stops trying to tune to my heart, and make sure I am ok. She worries a lot about my safety; and would be just fine if I only drove on days that were sunny and dry. I have laughed out loud on the countless days she has said, "It's raining out maybe you shouldn't drive today."
One thing is certain, about my mother and countless other mothers, "she" is a force of love sent from God holding us together in a way He designed. I see this when my mother questions, "When is the last time you talked to your brother? You should call him." I see it when she says, "Give me another hug before you leave." This makes me think of many times I've heard people say, "Now that my mom is gone, the family does not stay in touch the way we used to. She held us together." That statement of "she held us together" gets to the very heart of God's definition and purpose of a mother. Reflect further by reading through and processing the exercise below..
Note- Even if you have not had a good experience with your mother, others could have represented God's motherly love to you. And if you still have not had that experience, no matter how old you may be, ask God to experience a mother's love. There is a section below to help you.
Psalm 27:10- NLT Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.
Meditation Exercise: How God defines "mother"
Definition- God defines a mother according to purpose. Her purpose is one who "'binds" the family together, holding them together individually and collectively through her love and actions.
How can we know this is how God defines a "mother"?- Before there were letters to spell words, there were pictographs. Pictographs were symbols, which when their symbolic meanings were combined, revealed definitions. Eventually each pictograph became the letters used today with the symbolic meanings staying with each letter. We see this in how 2 symbols were combined to define the word "mother". It is a definition of purpose. One symbol was an ox head, the other symbol was of water. An ox head represents strength. And water represents water. So combined these pictographs mean "strong water." In Ancient Hebrew you would read from right to left, and this is how it would be spelled in pictographic symbols-
So anytime you saw those pictographs combined, you would know they were referencing a "mother."*. Now how does strong water translate into a "mother'?
In ancient times, the skins of animals were boiled in water which produced a sticky substance, much like glue. So strong water was a binding agent. And it was known in ancient times that a mother was a binding agent of the family. She held the family together with her love, her words, and her work. Her love, her words, and her work brought comfort, discipline, wisdom that "held" the family together.
WAYS TO REFLECT (Pick what is RELEVANT to you from 3 different scenarios):
Praise God for His love and divine intervention! Be blessed in the transformative work of God to help you honor your mother, forgive where necessary, and be a mother purposed according to Holy definition! May the strong waters of His love bind you eternally through Christ!
* Benner, Jeff. “Ancient Hebrew Lexicon, www.virtualbookworm.com, 2005.
Today is GOOD FRIDAY. Is God is good? How does He define “good”? How do you define “good”? We use the word good in abstract form. “That was a good meal.” “What she said was good.” “I had a good time tonight.”
Our statements are opinion based and abstract. What you think is good may not be what another concludes as “good”.
God has a very concrete definition behind the word “good”. It is rooted in His character as Creator and divine provider. You will not see that explicitly said if you look up the word “good” in our dictionaries.
We can take a deeper look through some fascinating pictures that define the word "good" as God intends. To do so, we have to look deeper into language beginnings, to ancient language and ancient culture that originally used pictographs, also known as hieroglyphics, to write down their stories. When you look at the pictographs that were combined to communicate the word “good”, a mind-blowing definition is revealed! This is what you will meditate upon today. You will see God’s giving heart to supply all that is needed for an abundant life!
Know that pictographs eventually evolved into letters. And that the meanings of the pictographs stayed tied to the words they spelled. The example today is “good”. In ancient language of Hebrew, the word “good” is spelled with 3 letters, not 4 as in the English language. If we look at the pictograph that originated behind each letter, we discover the definition of good. Consider these 3 images in your mind’s eye:
A basket, made of clay.
A tent peg.
Why these three images to spell the word good? Look closely at the purpose of each image.
Now let’s look at the activity behind each object’s purpose. In ancient times, God’s people went out daily with their baskets to fill them up with things they needed. They went back to their homes with all that they needed to satisfy their family. They were secured by bringing in all they needed and surrounded by God’s protection. When filled, secured, and satisfied at home, they functioned as God designed. When filled, secured, satisfied and functioning as designed, this is good.
Therefore, God’s meaning of good is:
Being surrounded and filled in such a way that you are secured and covered. Your dwelling is secure because you have a supply of all that is necessary for you to function as designed.
Is the word “good” as God intends starting to have a very concrete meaning to you? It is not opinion based. It is a state of being that is based upon a supply of all that is needed to function as God designed, which is all based upon His provision and supply.
Jesus promises that all of our needs will be satisfied according to His riches. He promises to surround us with His favor. He promises to fill us to overflowing with His Spirit and life. He promises to secure our souls and fill our temporary dwelling with Himself. He promises to give us our daily needs as we seek first His Kingdom. This is good and pleases God. With the Lord as your Good Shepherd, you are to lack no good thing.
Take time to view your life through the 3 images of the basket, the tent peg, and the tent.
their hands were set free from the basket.
Matthew 11:28- “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay (basket) to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
May you take time now for quiet in the presence of the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for you!
Fear and anxieties prevent rest. God knows all about it because He experienced it before going to His death. He worked through it in prayer. Please reference this post from last Thursday to read in detail what He experienced physically and emotionally in that time of prayer in the garden. Knowing Jesus experienced such trauma on your behalf is meant to soften your heart towards Him. He is not a God of words only; but action. His actions prove His love. We respond to His love by getting to know Him and spending time with Him. May you find 9 minutes to process your fear and anxieties with Him. As the Good Shepherd, He alone has the power to still and quiet you. He made a way for you to have access to Him, honor His sacrifice and respond to His invitation. "Come all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest!" (This meditation is silent and is clearly timed for you to know transitions. Pause anywhere if more time is needed. Find a quiet place without interruption. Blessings!)
Read detail below on the medical condition Jesus experienced that caused him to sweat blood. Ponder if you have ever experienced in just a small way Jesus’ extreme distress.
Have you ever broken a sweat in prayer? Probably not, and even more unlikely you ever sweat blood in prayer. But Jesus has, look up Luke 22:44 on Google. The reference from the book of Luke was written by a disciple named Luke who was a doctor. His account of Jesus alone states that Jesus’ sweat was like drops of blood, falling to the ground when he prayed about what was about to happen to Him. There are 3 other books (Matthew, Mark, and John) with accounts of Jesus praying before his suffering, with Matthew and Mark also referencing his severe anguish. He himself said that his soul was overwhelmed to the point of death. All accounts describe what a severe panic attack would look like, someone under traumatic internal distress.
If you look more closely at what Jesus was experiencing in the garden of Gethsemane, you will see the extreme mental and emotional pressure overwhelming him. To assist with this, I've included some detail from a renowned chief medical examiner and forensic pathologist, Dr. Frederick Zugibe. He detailed what it takes for a human being to sweat blood in his book “The Crucifixion of Jesus”. Here are some summarized excerpts and other thoughts to ponder-
• There is a rare medical condition called Hematidrosis which is defined in Stedman’s medical dictionary as excretion of blood or blood pigments in the sweat.
• It is associated with a severe anxiety reaction triggered by fear.
• One study of 76 cases showed individuals experienced extreme psychogenic factors of acute fear and mental distress as precipitating reasons for hematidrosis.
• It is a reaction from the nervous system’s “fight or flight” response. How can we know Jesus wanted to “flee” what was about to happen to him? Consider Jesus’ prayer of, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me, yet not as I will but as you will.”
• In a threatening situation, the body responds with the “fight or flight” reaction via the sympathetic nervous system. Pupils dilate, heart rate increases, sweat glands activate, blood vessels constrict to raise blood pressure, blood is diverted away from the skin to the brain and muscles for focus and rapid response, blood sugar is released to provide additional energy.
• In a threatening situation, it is not just the physical body alerted but also the psychological systems of the body. Specifically, the amygdala, which is the fear center of the brain. When the emotional center is reacting, a person experiences breathlessness, a choking sensation, heart palpitations, muscle tension, chest tightness, trembling, sweating, pallor, and overwhelming feelings of acute panic, as if having a heart attack.
• Combine the physical and psychological symptoms and you have what Jesus was experiencing when he says his soul was overwhelmed to the point of death. It explains why he fell to the ground in prayer, falling to his face, emptied of strength. Dr. Zugibe states that Jews normally stood to pray as a sign of honor to God, so it is important to note the Gospels detail Jesus falling to the ground while in prayer. He says it is detail to support the extreme distress Jesus was experiencing.
• Dr. Zugibe also explains in detail the tiny blood vessels that surround 2 million sweat glands in the skin. He explains how the blood would have been diverted from the glands during Jesus’ mental and emotional trauma, but how the blood would have rushed back to the delicate capillaries that surround the sweat glands when the angel came and strengthened Jesus, Luke 22:43. Yet Jesus was still in anguish, even after being strengthened, and he prayed more earnestly. It is at this point Luke notes that Jesus’ sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
• Dr. Zugibe summarizes Jesus distress in the garden of Gethsemane by stating the following, “The severe mental anxiety due to a profound fear of his prescient sufferings stimulated the fear center of the brain (amygdala), which sent out a general alarm to all centers of the brain, invoking a full scale fight or flight reaction. This reaction lasted for hours resulting in a total state of exhaustion, only to end abruptly in a severe counter reaction after the angel came and ministered to him, and he accepted his fate. This caused severe dilation and rupture of the blood vessels into the sweat glands, causing hemorrhage into the ducts of the sweat glands, and the subsequent extrusion onto the skin, exactly as St. Luke described it.”
• A Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. Jesus clearly says He is the Good Shepherd who dies for his sheep, John 10:11. What does his suffering mean to you?
• Take time to see in your mind’s eye Jesus’ praying in extreme distress in the Garden of Gethsemane. Let yourself feel some of his panic and sense how He would feel overwhelmed to the point of death. See the tremendous cost the Good Shepherd contemplated as He wrestled with His fate to die for the sheep, for all who would call on His Name.
• “If there is any other way”, Jesus vulnerably prays, “please take this cup from me, yet not what I will but what you will Father.”
• This reading is a pre-cursor to tomorrow’s meditation that will be posted on Into the Waters’ Facebook page. The focus is on Jesus calming our circumstantial fears and crippling thoughts. Those are the 2nd and 3rd of 4 fears that the Good Shepherd alone can calm. The first one was relational upset, and it was the focus of last Friday’s meditation. Please visit Into the Waters Facebook page and listen to it. And tomorrow’s meditation will be about circumstantial fears and mental attack you imagine threaten your livelihood. Praying you carve out quiet time with the Good Shepherd!
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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!"