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
(Guided texted based 4 min meditation on fear, with lake and nature sounds). There are 2 types of fears. Which one affects you the most? Consider, pray, and wait with God. Pause where prompted to meditate more intently. Let His perfect love drive out your fear. Blessings!
This prayer exercise is interactive and simple. It uses Psalm 116:1-7. It does not begin with instruction, so take a minute to quiet yourself and ask God to help you engage and pray. Simply repeat what you hear from the moderator. There is emphasis in verse 7 which has you repeat it multiple times. There is a time of silent reflection for you to wait and listen. The exercise ends in a prayer over you. Blessings!
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.
First reflect on the fact that Jesus wants minds firmly set on the reality that He was formerly dead; but by the power of His Father in Heaven, he was raised up from the dead, Ephesians 1:20!
Long time followers of Jesus may find the above "too familiar" and not challenging to their prayer life. People can tune out saying to themselves, "I've heard that before, nothing new." But that reaction more so indicates a "lukewarm" state of heart, than a correct judgment. And it probably means your mind is more set on other things right now than on Jesus.
We must do hard stops to redirect our thoughts from the day-to-day and into the victory of Christ. Jesus was nailed to the cross, released from the grave, and is now seated on His throne in Heaven. This is to be a treasure trove for mind renewal. These places (the cross, risen, and then ascended) are always a dwelling place for prayer and mind renewal.
So let's set our mind on things above! In order for something to "set" or be "set", it means that it is fixed, it has been readied and prepared. For someone's mind to be "set", one has first sat and hardened so that a thought has become fixed. This can lead us in a good direction or a bad direction. Assess where you are "set".
Where have your thoughts been sitting? Where are you set in your ways and immovable? Are they good or bad places of thought? (Later, read this recent blog on how to determine what is good.)
Examine today where your thoughts are "set". Do a quick inventory.
Based upon those answers, put yourself on a spectrum.
To be sure, life is not a rest filled day laying in a hammock, above a field of flowers, with song birds cheering our hearts all the time. It is quite easy to skew to the left on those questions above. Reality is that there are countless things happening to easily bring worry, heaviness, striving, and longing for attention. This is why God's word is clear that that our thoughts are not God's thoughts, our ways are not His ways. God wants it to be clear that our minds must be supernaturally renewed! He gives us access to his thoughts and will transform us so that His ways become our ways!
For this, we must do a hard stop and position to SET our minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Here is a test for Christians- Have you ever pictured yourself seated at the right hand of Jesus in Heaven? Is that a ridiculous exercise to you? It should not be. You being raised up with Christ and seated with him in Heaven is a God thought. Here is proof-
Ephesians 2: 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
Are you able to quiet yourself right now and envision yourself seated next to Christ in Heaven?
Colossians 3:1-2 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
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!
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!
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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!"