Curious about what happened at last Saturday's online prayer and meditation session? Listen to the video to hear the highlights or read below for a deeper dive into the participants' survey answers!
Click the link to register for Sunday December 15th at 8pm EST! Click here- Lingering with the God of Hope
"Setting time apart and waiting in anticipation to hear from God was exciting. Allowing my heart to receive from, as well as being still in his praise, healed deep brokenness".
Similar sentiment to the quote above came to me awhile ago from someone who has attended multiple events. Her name is Marty and I adore her heart in pursuit of God. She has continued to invest in pursuing time alone with God through these sessions. She is serious about earnestly seeking the healing and renewal God promises. She said to me after one session, that attending the event was like getting a massage. She meant it in the most complimentary way, likening it to how relaxed she felt after, experiencing a release of tension, and wanting to be quiet for the rest of the day so she could get all the benefit from the experience.
Just like after getting a massage, "I so needed that!" is a common response from attendees. This is the reason Into the Waters exists. We believe people SO VERY MUCH need extended time in God's presence for rest, renewal, and relieving their hearts and minds of tension.
And that is what survey after survey proves with November 2nd's online session being no different. It was our first online session, where people could engage in the prayer and meditation exercises from the comfort of their own home. The session lasted about 1 hour and 15 minutes. You might be like, "Whoa, that is a long time to spend in prayer!" And I would agree with you that yes, if you attempt that on your own, it may be quite a challenge. But the beauty of Into the Waters' sessions is that you aren't attempting it on your own. The session is moderated in such a way that you are gently led through a series of biblically grounded exercises so you are not thinking of "what do I say or do next?" Instruction is clear. Exercises are easy. God helps you. Most people think the time flies by. So with that being said, here are the full results of the survey that almost 90% of last Saturday's participants took.
Highlighted at the beginning of the blog is a parting comment in the survey by one participant that perfectly summarizes the reason for investing in this time with God. She wrote, "Setting time apart and waiting in anticipation to hear from God was exciting. Allowing my heart to receive from, as well as being still in his praise, healed deep brokenness". Yes! The God of supernatural hope showed up! Thank you Lord!
I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.- Psalm 130:5
Our sessions are FREE! It is a ministry by faith, so free-will donations thankfully accepted. Don't hesitate, invest in this time to linger longer with the God of Hope! Sign up for the December 15th session at 8pm EST. Here is the link again to register- Click here.
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
Hello, hope you all are well within. May you have curiosity and listen to the audio posted this week. Note that you make take issue with 4 reasons people are like sheep; but it was done with purpose. Those who may take issue will probably be Christian. Most people who receive the blog via email are Christian. This is not necessarily so for those who read it right off our website. The typical reason so easily quoted by Christians for why God calls us sheep is because, we all like sheep have gone astray. And this is true; but that is just one similarity. So in the audio, you will hear 4 commonalities mentioned that have more to do with fears, anxieties, mental warfare, and physical/spiritual hunger. (Sheep have mental warfare? Yes through pests that attack through their nose and lay eggs in their brains! It drives them crazy!) These 4 things are referenced in circumstances of Psalm 23 and reveal the character of the Good Shepherd. Take a listen by visiting the post here. And I pray you will carve out some time to steal away with the Good Shepherd via the Easter audio meditations that will be posted on Into the Waters Facebook page. (This is a public page, you do not have to be a member of Facebook to see it.)
The first audio meditation on the Good Shepherd will be posted on Friday, April 5th by noon. You will be able to access it at your leisure, so make a date with God! And please be praying for those who would access the meditations over the coming weeks, that God would heal people; and people would experience the love of God though it is too great to understand fully. That they would be made complete by all the life and power that comes from God, by the Lord, who is the Spirit. I am praying this for you too!
Based upon the survey results, a Facebook Live session time has been scheduled for this coming Wednesday! If you are a Facebook user, hope you can join! Also, contrary to survey results, the most popular Facebook log on times are NOT the times people noted for prayer. Makes sense! If you are spending time with God, you are not on Facebook! So we will experiment with times we post interactive prayer exercises and teaching content. In that line of thinking, a second time has been set for Friday, November 23rd at 10pm. This is to see if “bedtime scrollers” check in.
Its all an interesting new endeavor! Time will tell what God intends on reaching and inspiring people this way. In my time as an online mentor for Focus on the Family over the last year, God has clearly revealed the countless people who are online and seeking answers. It has been mind blowing really. Yet, always an adventure to follow His Spirit! Press in with us! You will try prayer exercises. Practice quieting yourself in new ways. Be inspired with promise based language for heart expression. Open yourself up to God’s love and reach!
Finally, pray for the ministry’s fruit in this endeavor! And watch the video to hear more survey results and the invite! Blessings!
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV
Practice quieting yourself. Practice inviting God. Open up. Release burden. Wait in His presence. Join in on Wednesday Nov 21 at 7am EST for a 15 minute session on “Power”. Join Friday Nov 23 at 10pm EST for a short session before bed for a good night’s rest. Like our Facebook page! Look to the Lord and His strength, seek His face always (1 Chronicles 16:11). #powerbelongstogod #awakethesoul #bedtimeprayers #prayscripture #meditate #jesusitrustinyou #waitonthelord #bestillandknow #bibleverse #morningprayer
Use this video based prayer format to spend some quality time with God. Prayer inspiration comes from scripture. Follow the prompts, pause where you want more time. Share the ministry! Follow on Facebook for interactive content via Facebook Live sessions!
Starting in 3rd week of November, Into the Waters will hold Facebook Live interactive prayer sessions! If you are on Facebook, would you please participate in this 4 question survey? It will help target some good times and day(s) of the week. Thank you so much! Please like our Facebook page to stay connected to Facebook Live events!
Do you know how to wait in God’s presence for His life and promises to renew you? In the last couple of prayer meditation events, I started the group in a prayer exercise to consider if a lot of their energy is striving for something. In prayer, with God’s help we considered the question of a young man who asked Jesus, “What good thing must I do to get eternal life?” The key words were, “What GOOD THING must I DO to GET?” (Repeat that phrase to yourself and ask God to show you, how often you tackle each day this way.). Very often when I pray for someone or counsel them in prayer, God clearly reveals they are striving in some way that is draining them. They are operating on human power, attempting in a variety of ways to figure things out, and DO it the “right” way to get what they want. It often fails. It leads to anxiety, worry, crippling fear, exhaustion, bitterness, etc. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. God wants us to practice stilling ourselves in His presence and inviting Him into our burdens. We receive from Him more when we still ourselves before Him; and therefore striving as a way of life diminishes. If you want to practice this, starting in the 3rd week of November, we will hold an interactive prayer session to lead you in short prayer exercise sessions. Stay tuned for more detail! LIKE and FOLLOW our FACEBOOK page to get updates! CLICK ON IMAGE ABOVE TO GO TO OUR PAGE! #prayer #jesus #sitquietly#healing #faith #hope #love #intothewaters
Last Saturday was another time of precious time in God’s presence and supernatural touch by our good God. The theme of the time was Psalm 16:2, “apart from you Lord, I have no good thing”.
One of the things that God always does is touch certain people in ways that releases emotion that has been compartmentalized and inaccessible. One of the attendees shared that she has not been able to mourn over a deeply painful situation, but finally accessed it in the session. God’s Spirit is gentle and draws us in a such a way that we rest and let go. He penetrates that which we cannot touch, things so overwhelming and painful that we cannot feel anything but numbness, but He sees it and unearths what is buried. But He does it in such a way that releases supernatural balm into those deep wounds. The emotional release people experience is due to relief and experiencing His supernatural love and healing presence. It is a work of the Spirit beyond our conception!
“However, as it is written: “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— these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:9-11 NIV
In God’s presence, his thoughts become our thoughts. The picture at the top shows baskets filled with a prayer requests from each. These represent good thoughts, good requests, formed in them through God’s spirit work in them! Our time ended by redistributing these prayer requests anonymously and taking a time to pray for another. We took our eyes and focus off ourselves for a moment, and carried a burden for another. By doing this, we are an instrument of God’s promise to heal another.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
James 5:16 KJV
These are the collective cries...
... healing and unity and wholeness in marriage, God centered selfless love, forgiveness of self and others, restoration where God sees fit, clear direction, becoming trustworthy of others, to experience supernatural peace in financial and relational situations, to be filled with peace even when situations are confusing, for God’s guidance through current struggles, for help to direct energy to serve God, for God’s reassuring presence, for help to meet demands and challenges, for light and truth to guide themselves and family, for healing of depression, anxiety, and loneliness, to feel and know God’s hovering and protective presence, to increase in trust of God, for a place to live, willingness to allow God to enter weaknesses and trust He will sustain and grow them, find balance, for scattered pieces to be put back together, to trust the Lord more and not lean on their own understanding...
What beautiful language of children seeking God! God heard their cries for mercy and will answer because He gives good and perfect gifts from Heaven, James 1:17.
“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.”
Psalm 116:1 NIV
May you pray for those requests above and be a part of another’s healing. May you find language that inspires your prayers and cry out for mercy. May you invite God’s spirit to search your deepest places and believe in His good hand to reach and heal what you cannot reach on your own power. Blessings!
“The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on one’s inmost being.”
Proverbs 20:27 NIV
There are a couple men who attended June's Summer Sabbath walk, all pursuers wanting more of God. One of them is this week's guest author. His name is Paul; and upon first meeting him a handful of years ago, he seemed a bit intimidating to me. I guess this was true on terms of his physical size and the serious demeanor he was carrying that day. Initially, it made me wonder how friendly he was. But it didn't take long for me to realize I had nothing to worry about. Very quickly it became clear he was self-effacing, hilarious, generous, compassionate, fiercely protective of those he loves, tuned to society's outcasts, a mold breaker, and a warrior in training. He is one who is not ashamed to seek the Father's heart and let that emotion show. He is very intent to pursue Christ and invests his life in young people in selfless ways. He adores his wife and is not afraid to push past fear to love deeply. I'm honored to be his friend. Hope you enjoy reading Paul in the way he shares about the exhausting burden God was prompting him to release to Jesus. May you come to the last and final event for summer to release the burden you are carrying! Sign up on the calendar page!
A Heavy Burden or a New Heart: You Choose, by Paul Stack
Many people I know get a bad taste in their mouth when the word “church” comes up, and that bad taste usually results from bad relationships. These people had an ugly experience with a church member or staff, and decided they wanted to get out and not return. Peter Scazzero, a well known pastor in New York City and author of "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality", faced this problem many times with his congregation and in his own life. In a video session about his book, he shares his struggle of leading a growing church: “People were changing, but they weren’t changing deeply. Deep beneath the surface was not changing.... Something was deeply wrong. People who called themselves ‘Christians’ were not enjoyable to be around and often judgmental.”
Overtime, he began to realize that if he didn’t develop a way for himself and the church to be deeply transformed, the church was going to die, as was his soul. He was internally spent, tense, on-edge, and dealing poorly with family and church relationships. As he became more clear of what was at stake, he came to believe that the church in America will die out if the members inside the church don’t learn to love deeply. He also came to believe that only way to learn to love deeply was to develop a rich interior life.
Scazzero’s conclusions ring true for me, and that is why I believe in the mission of the “Into the Waters” ministry. Gina’s gift of a Summer Sabbath Walk experience was a wonderful tool to help grow my connection with God and to develop my love for him and others.
During the Sabbath Walk, we began the day with a guided meditation while walking around a gorgeous park. The time in nature put me in a place to hear God clearly: I stopped thinking about what I had to do that day and that week and took in the stream, the breeze, the chipmunks, all the beautiful things I often neglect to notice (if I’d only slow down to see them!). After the walk, Gina led us to reflect further on Proverbs 20:27 from the audio recording:
“The breath of man is the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on one’s inmost being.”
We reflected on God’s desire to know and transform the deepest parts of us. I thought a lot about how my past experiences shaped me to believe that I was responsible for other people’s feelings and actions. This belief has been one of the most painful and poisonous lies that has influenced my life and relationships. It can lead me to resent my wife when she doesn’t reach her fitness goals; I’ve believed that if she doesn’t accomplish those goals, it’s my fault. It can cause me to nag and pressure the students I lead in high school youth group to share the gospel with their friends, often in ways that make me and God sound like harsh, demanding task masters; I’ve believed that if they don’t take meaningful social risks and invite their friends to church, it’s my fault. It can push me to repeatedly ask my friend who struggles with depression if he’s gone to church, made any friends, read the Bible, and many other “helpful” suggestions (which probably sounded like passive-aggressive commands); I’ve believed that if he doesn’t overcome his bout with depression through my friendship, it’s my fault.
God never intended me to carry this kind of responsibility on my shoulders; his yoke is supposed to be easy, and his burden is supposed to be light. However, I’ve held on to these destructive beliefs and taken on a demanding and exhausting burden in the process. This is why I need to develop an interior life with God: if I want to be a truly empathetic, patient, stable, and loving follower of Jesus, I need to learn to let go of the ugly habits and attitudes He wants me to release. I’ve been judgmental, controlling, and manipulative plenty of times in my life. I know the cost of neglecting my inner life well.
As we continued reflecting on this Proverbs verse, I received clarity on people I needed to apologize to and relational shifts I had to make. For example, I decided to pray for and encourage my wife in regards to her fitness goals, but leave the choice up to her as to whether or not she goes to the gym. God’s light burden for me in this case is to support my wife, not to control her into good behavior. These realizations about ways to surrender my controlling and overly-responsible tendencies to God have continued. I still face regular temptation to be slip back into old habits, but I’ve made plenty of progress since the Sabbath walk. I also stopped offering “suggestions” to my friend struggling with depression and have asked more questions about what his experience has been like. I apologized for the times I’ve tried to control him, and he forgave me. Our friendship has become more honest and enjoyable for both of us.
Bottom line: when Gina invites you to something, go to it :)
All joking aside, developing your inner-life to deal with your bad attitudes, unhealthy relationships, and poisonous beliefs is one of the best decisions you can ever make. A lot is at stake. What if the first words that came to people’s minds when they thought of you was “patient” or “gentle” or “consistently loving”? A life based on the deep change that God offers will make you much more like Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I want to work with, go to church with, and be best friends with someone who is like Jesus.
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Prayer is Gift!
Into the Waters Ministry is a 501(C)3 public charity. Our mission is to inspire you to linger longer with God, to draw near and know Christ. For those willing, it is a place of supernatural hope and healing. I know this first hand. My name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 20+ year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and receiving His life in greater measure! I've experienced radical healing in mind, body, and spirit and believe God for more! I long for others to position themselves for the same! Into the Waters' resources help you spend quality time with God to enter His rest and receive His divine provision. Let us help you experience more of God! Read the blogs, try the exercises, participate in online sessions! His promises for life and wholeness are offered to all! But you have to say "Yes!"