This morning right before Cheryl and I went LIVE on Facebook for Friend Friday in our Peace Be Still group, the LORD put on my heart "sober your minds". We were praying as we always do, before we go LIVE in the group. It really struck me, because there was a tone of real authority and seriousness that came with it.
We talked about fasting in the session this morning. Fasting in observance and remembrance of Pentecost which falls on June 5th this year.
Also to fast as an act of faith that God still has more to pour into His people.
Also to fast in obedience to Jesus' instruction of "when you fast...". He says this 2 times in succession in Matthew 6, verses 16 and 17. Not "if you fast", but "when you fast".
16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
NOTICE the promise of REWARD.
He says the same thing about giving and praying. Doing these things in secret and promising to openly reward "when" we do these things.
The word "fast" here has a Greek concordance reference, and means to abstain from food as a religious exercise (pursuit of God) from food and drink.
We do not enter in a time of denying our flesh in our own power or strength, but humbly. We are dependent on His Spirit to sustain us and feed us with manna from Heaven, Matthew 4:4. Jesus' response to Satan in Matthew 4:4 was His same Word to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 8:3. He was making it clear that we are not sustained by food alone... but we are sustained; we live; we prosper and are renewed and saved by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Jesus modeled fasting in the wilderness. The Matthew 4 account tells us that He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. In Deuteronomy 8:2-3, we are told that the wilderness is a place to be humbled, a place of testing in order to know what is in our hearts about God, to see if we keep to His ways. There is purpose in causing His people to hunger and then feeding us with manna. He intends to teach us that the sustaining nourishment we truly need is His Word and dependence upon Him as our supernatural supply. He (the Word of God) is the life to our bones and health to our flesh, Proverbs 4:20-22.
Life to your bones, health to your flesh. Do you believe?
On human terms, saying "no" to the flesh in a period of denying yourself food is counterintuitive. But indeed fasting renews the flesh. We mere humans have discovered that denying yourself of food and drinking only water does indeed allow cells in your body to regenerate and be made new! It does allow your body to renew itself. Science right there in Proverbs 4:20-22.
But that is a benefit only and not to be the main reason we fast. Denying ourselves food and drinking only water is to be combined with a pressing in for more of God. We pray and seek Him and praise Him and read His word and ask for more in the time we would normally be filling our bellies. Our heart's position to fast should always be to draw nearer to the heart of God. The outcomes will be supernatural, including renewal of our flesh!
When is the last time that you fasted? When is the last time that you pressed in for more of Him, less of you?
Some of us started a fast today in remembrance of Pentecost. We are pressing in to more of what God has for us. To ask God to humble us. To ask God to heal and renew. For revival in the nation and world. To persevere in prayer and ask for more of the good gifts of the Holy Spirit as Jesus told us to do, Luke 11:9-13. He still pours out from on high to those who position with childlike faith and believe! Some are doing one day of water only, and 2 days of fruit and vegetables. Some are doing no leaven.
Ask God to lead you to what it might look like for you! BELIEVE! Sober your mind with fasting!
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:16-18
Notice the instruction to put oil on your head. In the KJV and Geneva version, this is translated as "anoint your head"... So while in part Jesus was referencing to wash your face and enter in to the fast with your face shining and joyful, not making it obvious to others that you are fasting, there is also reference to the anointing of the Spirit upon believers.
On Facebook this morning and on TikTok, I encouraged people to start a fast by anointing their head while proclaiming the promise of 2 Corinthians 1:21-22:
Now it is God who establishes both us and you in Christ. He anointed us, placed His seal on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a pledge of what is to come.
If you want to follow along with that anointing, you can watch the Facebook Live. The anointing and time of prayer are at the end, starting at the 25:30minute mark, with the time of prayer going to the end at 35 minutes. So that portion lasts 10 minutes. You can also listen to today's podcast. Click the image at the top of the email to listen there. And for the Live from FB today, click on the image below to be directed to a link from our host!
Blessings! And we hope you join! Wait on the LORD! Anticipate more! Ask for more! Seek Him in fasting! Knock and ask for more good gifts of the Holy Spirit!
👆 🎧 (Click image above to listen.). Today's podcast was a spontaneous prayer prayed over you.
When is the last time you asked someone to pray for you? When is the last time you were covered in a prayer?
This should be something you experience regularly.
Very often lately in social media prayer requests, requests are prefaced this way, "I don't ever ask for prayer but..." This is evidence of someone carrying something for too long and now the pressure of the situation is too much, and they are breaking and finally asking for prayer.
Asking for prayer should be a habit we develop. It revitalizes us. It comforts us. It encourages us. The Spirit is present to do what only God can do. It is a blessing to be prayed for.
And did you know that for relational issues, answered prayers are often obtained through prayers of agreement? Read Matthew 18:15-20.
We are to share our burdens with Christ and carry each other's burdens. The Apostle Paul shared one of his prayer requests this way:
Romans 15: 30 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, 32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.
He says, "Join me in my struggle..."
Are you asking anyone to join you in your struggle? Do you believe in the power of prayer? Do you believe as Paul did that prayers of others and the Spirit of Christ is your way of deliverance?
Philippians 1:19- for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
God has a way for you. He has victory. He has answers. He has supernatural assist. Ask for prayer.
These are days to be pressing in. These are days to be covered in prayer. Many Friend Fridays are episodes where I cover you in prayer.
Make it a habit to want to be prayed for, to want to be covered in prayer. Go to church on Sunday and ask someone to pray for you. Listen to the podcast and receive the prayers often prayed over you in the sessions. Click on the image above to be connected to today's Friend Friday prayer over you!
And read the review below for encouragement on the power of prayer! And if you didn't see Doug's letter from the last email I sent out, he has a very encouraging message on persevering and pressing in to the gift of prayer!
This ministry is part of fulfilling the Great Commission. Please consider a donation so that we can disciple more! Blessings!
Wednesday's podcast exercise is worship of God from A-Z! Follow along as written below or be led in the exercise via link. We're closing in on 50K downloads! People are finding peace in His presence! (Click on image above for Apple podcast link.)
Follow along below, and worship in prayer on your own. Go slow, add your own words for the letters from A-Z! Leave any comments below!
Lord we are here to worship you in the splendor of your holiness.
You are our Abba, we cry out “Abba Father”.
You are our Best friend, we can tell you anything.
You are our Conqueror, if you are for us, who can be against us?
You are our Deliverer, you rescued us from death.
You are our Eternity, our time will have no end.
You are our Faithful One, you are faithful to all your promises.
You are our Good Shepherd, with you we lack nothing.
You are our Holy Help, our ever-present help in times of trouble.
You are our Invisible shield, surround us with your favor as a shield.
You are our Judge, merciful and compassionate forgiving us our sins.
You are our King, one day every knee in Heaven, on earth and under the earth will bow to you...
You are our Love, you complete us.
You are our Mighty God, nothing is impossible with you.
You are our New beginning, your mercies are new every morning.
You are our openhearted God, you poured yourself out like a drink offering on our behalf.
You are our Precious Cornerstone, because we build upon you, we will not be disappointed.
You are our Quickening, thank you for the Holy Spirit who warns and teaches us.
You are our Redeemer, you rescued us from the pit of despair.
You are our Savior, without you we’d be doomed.
You are our Trustworthy God, your Word is true and manna to our soul.
You are Unchanging, you do not change like shifting shadows.
You are our Victory, we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us.
You are our Wonderful Counselor, thank you for the Spirit who counsels and comforts us.
You are our X-factor, you multiply our meager offerings and feed the lost.
You are Yeshua, the promised One spoken of from the beginning of time.
You are our Zenith, the highest point above and beyond all we can ask or think, and you are coming back to take us where you are!
We wait Holy One. We wait. Come Lord Jesus, come soon. Amen.
Gina Williamson, Servant of God Most High and Founder of Into the Waters Ministry, Inc.
Script from today's podcast, episode 496- To listen 👂🏽, access here on Apple Podcasts.
Honest hearts and open hands to receive are the basics of a healthy and thriving prayer life. Let’s position that way before God today…
Hello and welcome to Peace Be Still! Our interactive prayer and meditation exercises help you linger longer with God for peace and power. Exercises are based upon God’s Word and promises! I’m your host Gina Williamson and today being Friend Friday, we press in for His presence and His person for peace.
Jesus gives us some clear and simple direction on how to have a good relationship with God. He tells the woman at the well in John 4, that true worshipers worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, that God seeks those type of worshipers. He said it was imperative to worship this way, repeating himself in verses 24. 'God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirt and truth."
The woman at the well didn’t realize who she was talking to and she approached her conversation with Jesus by taking on some areas of seemingly religious bitterness brewing in her heart. Please reference her replies in John 4:9,12.
Jesus turns the tables on her though and takes the conversation to one of personal revelation. He told her that she has had 5 husbands and the man she now had was not her husband. Jesus wanted honest heart dialogue about the real issues that brought her shame.
And after giving her living water of personal revelation, He is clear that if anyone would be a worshiper of God, they must worship in the Spirit and in truth. His Spirit at work in us to reveal heart issues. We must admit and confess so we can then be forgiven, sanctified, and transformed.
What might you be embarrassed to confess in front of Jesus? The woman at the well was hiding her deepest area of sin and shame from Jesus, but He called it out and then invited her to drink from him in a way that satisfied her deepest soul thirst. That invitation is also for you today.
"Lord you are sovereign over all things. There is nothing we can hide from you. You know our thoughts before they are on our lips. We cannot hide our choices, thoughts, or feelings. What do you want us to examine in your presence today? Holy Spirit, with the tender touch of God, will you reveal truth to this one? In agreement, say yes God, reveal truth.
What thoughts are coming to mind? Do you need to relieve your heart of burden in any area? Simply admit to God what needs to be confessed.
(Take time to do this.)
Lord your grace is sufficient for us. Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Thank you for cleansing and freeing this one of burden, shame, and trouble within. Thank you for your grace and relieving our soul of guilt. Let this one feel your presence, your favor, your love, your Spirit breathing new life into their soul.
Now spend time on your own, enjoying His presence. "Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus..."
The video above is of today's Friend Friday LIVE prayer time in our Peace Be Still Daily Prayer Download private group. If you'd like to join the group, please visit FB, search for the group by name, and ask to join! Today's broadcast was about 5 minutes of context for set up in praying, and then I lead you in the prayer time that lasts about 10 minutes!
The world and its chaos just keeps coming. The visuals and accounts we hear of the Ukrainian's fleeing and fighting for their lives is overwhelming. Many of us can easily see ourselves in their faces, in their circumstances.
Why is it allowed? Why do the reports get worse? Why does evil prosper?
These are big questions and God knows we have them. But what do we do with them?
This week I was wrestling with how evil is prospering in many different nations, in many different ways. Wicked agendas are being executed with lightning speed. It seems like there is no justice in sight.
These thoughts woke me in the night this week, and I wasted time reading bad reports and fretting, feeling stunted in my prayer language. I finally got back to sleep, and the LORD's whisper met me upon waking. I felt the Spirit prompting me to read and pray Psalm 10. He was there with me through the night, seeing the upset in my heart and directing me to process the righteous anger, confusion, dismay, and burden through His word.
It brought great relief.
I found great comfort in expressing my grief and upset through the words of King David. It gave me words for feelings and thoughts I am having trouble transforming into prayer. Sometimes the lyrics (verses) penned by the psalmists are much more intense than what I would ever give myself permission to pray or think had I not read them first expressed in God's Word. It really helps me to see the hearts of ancient believers and connect with them through their feelings and thoughts... all inspired by the Holy Spirit, 2 Timothy 3:16.
Try it right now. See if it helps you connect with suppressed feeling and thoughts that make it hard to pray and express yourself. Talk to God through His word using Psalm 10:
“Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide in times of trouble? The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord. The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. His ways are always prospering; Your judgments are far above, out of his sight; As for all his enemies, he sneers at them. He has said in his heart, “I shall not be moved; I shall never be in adversity.” His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is trouble and iniquity. He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the secret places he murders the innocent; His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless. He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; He lies in wait to catch the poor; He catches the poor when he draws him into his net. So he crouches, he lies low, That the helpless may fall by his strength. He has said in his heart, “God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see.” Arise, O Lord! O God, lift up Your hand! Do not forget the humble. Why do the wicked renounce God? He has said in his heart, “You will not require an account.” But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, To repay it by Your hand. The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and the evil man; Seek out his wickedness until You find none. The Lord is King forever and ever; The nations have perished out of His land. Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, That the man of the earth may oppress no more.”
Psalms 10:1-18 NKJV
How did it feel to pour your upset through the sentiment of King David? Did it help you?
HIs Word is manna to our soul in so many ways! His word is great inspiration for our prayer closets!
Here are some other Psalms you could use to pray regarding upset against evil agenda and wicked schemes-
Use those psalms to unburden with God. He will transform your upsetting feelings and thoughts in His presence. Ask Him to still and calm you. Release outcomes to Him.
"Vengeance is mine", says the LORD. We can rest assured that He WILL have the final word on evil. Believing this, we are to rest in Him, waiting patiently (expectantly, with hope).
Believe that God is taking what the enemy means for evil and turning to good even as we speak. Revival in the hearts of men and women persecuted in Ukraine, revival in my heart and yours. Believe. Press in and rest. He is in control!
And finally, if you'd like try some interactive podcast exercises to process with God and press in for His comforts, check us out on Apple podcasts here. Or you can find Peace Be Still Daily Prayer Download on your app provider! Blessings!
Our Savior felt strong feelings at the tomb of Lazarus. Let’s enter the scene and meditate upon the what and why of those feelings.
In the beginning of Jesus’ ministry he tells some curious disciples, “Come and see", John 1:39. This in response to their inquiry of where he was staying. Really, they wanted to spend more time with Him believing He could be the promised Messiah. He invites them nearer, “Come and see”. This begins a 3 year journey for them to follow and see Jesus reveal His true nature as the Son of God.
In those 3 years, Jesus teaches with great authority and performs awesome signs and wonders. For just a few examples, we know he exorcises demons, restores limbs, cures leprosy, opens the eyes of the blind, heals the deaf and mute, stills the seas to a whisper, walks on water, multiplies loaves and fishes twice for the multitudes, raises the dead. He did these things as proof for His claim as the Messiah and to lead His people to believe in Him. Jesus labored intently for people to believe that He was the Resurrection and the life.
Fast forward to the end of His walk. Let's look at Lazarus’ death, it’s near the end Christ's time on earth. We learn in John 11:4-15 Jesus purposely delays going to Lazarus, telling his disciples 3 different ways that Lazarus would not sleep in death. He would go and wake him up that they may believe.
As he draws near to Bethany, Jesus is met by Martha who tells him, “if you had just been here, my brother wouldn’t have died”. He challenges her that whoever believes in Him will never die, asking her “do you believe this?” Then He goes no further, instead telling Martha to fetch Mary. She comes to him and says the same thing, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus looks around and sees Jews who came along with her. They are all weeping. Here scripture records that Jesus is deeply moved and troubled.
If you look deeper, you see these words mean that he groaned with indignation within, a deep sigh against them, a charge of admonition against their unbelief. He didn't voice it, He contained it.
He’s about to go to the cross. His time is almost up. He loves them deeply, yet here they are still trapped in unbelief and this distresses him greatly.
John 11:35- Jesus wept.
They incorrectly think his weeping is a sign of how much he loved Lazarus. Yes He loved Lazarus deeply, but what's really going on in this account is that He was distressed by their unbelief.
And even as He wept, the blame kept coming. "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Think about Jesus having to hear their snide remarks at the point. He is about to suffer an inhumane death, to be abandoned by everyone. And still they do not believe, despite all they've witnessed of His inexplicable power.
Think on that. Consider the feelings and distress of Jesus here.
John 11:38 records that once again Jesus is deeply moved, i.e. with indignation, as he came to the tomb of Lazarus.
Consider his feelings again as He is deeply moved a 2nd time. Do you wonder if he was perhaps having flashes of his own impending death coming into his thoughts as He sees Lazarus' tomb?
He tells them to roll the stone away. Martha argues against it, reminding Jesus it has been 4 days since Lazarus died and there will now be a bad odor.
He challenges Martha again, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
As they take away the stone Jesus prays, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
He calls Lazarus out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man comes out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Can you see this scene in your mind's eye? Can you see Mary and Martha, the unbelieving crowd, the mourners watching Lazarus walk out of the tomb wrapped in grave clothes? Can you imagine their amazement as they unwrap him? As he takes his first breath of fresh air? The amazement? The rejoicing? The wonder? The laughter?
How many of them do you think felt deep conviction that their unbelief had limited their ability to see Jesus for who He was? It limited them, but it didn’t limit Jesus.
This is the mercy in this passage. Their unbelief didn’t limit what Jesus was willing to do and had planned to do all along. At this point with him, they were being tested by their Savior.
He will do the same with us. He will bring us to the brink of our belief. Consider:
He will be merciful to help you!
I pray that by faith, you pray bigger prayers for His glory to be revealed in inexplicable ways! He does not change! He is still a God of signs, miracles, and wonders!
If you want to listen to the audio version of this devotional, listen to today's Peace Be Still Daily Prayer Download episode-https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/470-tranquil-tues-meditate-on-the-feelings-of-jesus/id1506101286?i=1000550460960
💥Here is the best planning advice anyone could give you. You aren’t meant to lead. Some will take that with offense, but others will feel the relief it is meant to bring! ...YOU AREN'T MEANT TO LEAD.
You are meant to be led, by someone, partnered with Someone who carries the burden. There is an easy yoke involved...
Today being Tranquil Tues in Peace Be Still's podcast, we use an image from scripture to spend time in His presence.
Our image today comes from Matthew 11:28-30. Many of you may know these verses by heart. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
These are words of Jesus. A yoke was a common reference to people in the 1st century. Their economy was largely based upon agricultural trade. The land had to be worked and prepared for the seed. Heavy cargo also needed to be carried into the marketplace. So oxen and other burden bearing animals were paired together with a wooden beam to labor together. The wooden beam joining the animals is the yoke.
This is the visual Jesus wants us to reflect on when he says, “take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
This makes sense when you consider how the animals were paired up. Seasoned and strong burden bearers were paired with less experienced, weaker laborers. The weight of the yoke was mostly carried by the stronger among the two, therefore easing the burden of the weaker, coaching and leading the way.
Jesus is obviously revealing Himself as the strong One who bears the burden for you. He is sooooooooooooo much stronger than you. He will faithfully lead and guide you!
This is revelation for soul rest. You aren't to go it alone. Jesus is telling us we are to pair up, to partner with Him. This is inspiration for today's visual. Jesus is telling us He will bear the burden of our souls. He is telling us to come to Him and learn from Him. He’ll shift the weight on to himself and carry it for you. He is gentle and humble in heart, leading you to rest.
"Father, thank you for Jesus, our burden bearer. Thank you for sending us a gentle Shepherd to lead and guide us to rest. Jesus, we look to you to teach us your ways. Lord help us let go of striving. Holy Spirit help this one see any area of their life where they are laboring and burdened, going it alone. Shift the weight Holy One, carrying it for us so that our soul may rest. Amen."
What are you attempting to carry in your own power? See yourself setting it down, walking away from it.
In your mind’s eye, come near to Jesus.
See that He is welcoming you, His gentle ways encouraging you closer.
What does it look like to collapse near him, completely letting go? Feel the relief of letting everything go...
(to complete this visualization, listen to today's exercise found here.
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Immanuel. With us is God.
What is the last thing the LORD brought to mind that He wanted to talk to you about, address, or call you to surrender?
If you don't have an answer for that, it should give you pause. It should challenge you to press in for a touchpoint with Immanuel.
God with us. With us is God.
The little babe in a manger, Jesus. Our radical warrior King. He grew up to go there, to the darkest places, to endure the greatest suffering ever known, to pour out His life unto death. To have victory in every area and impart that victory to you.
He grew up to go there with you, to your darkest places, to be with you in your suffering, to pour His life into your dead places. Immanuel, God with us, addressing what we tend to gloss over or dismiss. The loneliness. The mourning. The past. The pain. The vices. Our selfish motives. Our lukewarm faith. Unbelief.
He prompted me to a scripture the other day that made me consider a motive, a destructive pattern of thinking. He's catching me before I make a decision about something. He's wanting me to see the danger before I follow my destructive thinking which involves a lack of trust in Him. He's fulfilling His promise to not let me be tempted beyond what I can bear. I wasn't really awakened to it before He took me to a scripture, and as I began meditating on it, what was hidden from my view came to light. I made the connection on what He was addressing. I saw that He's providing a way out, so that I can endure the temptation and choose His way, not my own.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (NIV)- 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Do you let God alert you to blind spots in yourself? Do you let others be messengers of those type of blind spots?
Immanuel. God with us, in us, to be in the trenches to rescue and deliver us.
Are we with Him?
"Okay God, you can be with me, just not too close."
And that is where many of us are stuck.
But good news is that is where many of us have huge opportunities for breakthrough!
When you open up and let the LORD start to touch those untouchable places, those areas locked up and under-wrap, miracles can happen. You can experience real breakthrough, the freedom He promises!
But often we hold back. We avoid. We dismiss. We just keep going along as we always have because we are comfortable with our ways. When the little whispers, prompts, or convictions come, often we pretend we didn't hear God. We quickly move on and become busy with something and dismiss acknowledging what Immanuel is addressing.
Welcome to the danger zone. This is where pride and unbelief and willful ways keep Him out.
He's still with us, but we aren't with Him.
People wonder where God is, when really they've been keeping Him distant, busy putting up walls and mastering avoidance tactics.
So He gets increasingly silent. He's willing to take the backseat until we press in. It's sad; but often desperation is our greatest motivator for a renewed prayer life.
We are stubborn. We like status quo. "Let's not rock the boat. I'm good. Things are manageable."
Yet it's a lie. The truth is lots of us have faith that is stagnant. Lots of us have relationships with others that haven't really grown much, despite our call to love more deeply. We've hit barriers; and one or the other (or both) have shut down in our human relationships. And we become okay with that, it is a new normal.
There is this unspoken agreement we make. "I won't challenge them, so that they don't challenge me." Or "I don't want them upset with me, so I will remain quiet." Or "I don't like to deal with hard things, so I'll stuff my feelings". Or "I've done nothing wrong, they need to deal with it." Or "I'll tell myself this story, and believe it to settle it in my mind so I don't have to wrestle with the fact that I am part of the problem." Or "Relationships are too much work and I'm fine with just me and God."
And here is a big piece that is missing in our prayer lives and faith walks. We need to hear from God to know what the truth really is, about ourselves, about how we are to respond to others.
God saw this barrier in our broken natures. He crossed the barrier of time and space and sin. The Word of God became flesh and dwelt here on earth among us, and we have seen His glory, the glory of the One and only Son, full of grace and truth.- John 1:14.
Consider today- Are you hearing from God? Are you willing to let Him examine what's happening within? Are you willing to reflect on relationships and be vulnerable, to press for in for deeper connection with God and others? Are you taking risks for closer fellowship, especially in conflict?
I feel something awakening in me to be more vulnerable. To not pretend things are okay. To address my former words and behaviors that hurt others. To let friends know if I've been hurt and challenge them to go deeper with me.
I want to risk, because freedom and joy are on the other side. I trust God to weed relationships out, or cause relationships to flourish. I want to live in His power, not my own! How about you?
As we get ready to enter a new year, what are your relationship goals? Not where do you want to excel in career or fitness or finances or health or travel or personal goals, but where do you want to win in relationships?
Start with Jesus.
Immanuel. You are with the downcast Lord. You are with the broken. You are with the lonely. You are with the poor in Spirit. You are with those in bondages of their own making. You set free. You repair. You awaken. You raise the dead. You bless. You heal. You make all things new.
"Be with me God. Be with me to take risks that lead to freedom. Help me open up and let you in. Open my eyes to see, my ears to hear. Help me surrender. Help me invest in the relationships and people you place in my path. Help me be vulnerable and love courageously. Transform me, Word of God!"
Click above for episode in pic. And read below for another meditation of "Is Jesus first?"
We are creatures of habit. We tend to do things as we always have when it comes to managing our emotions and thoughts, time and energies.
When it comes to our emotions and thoughts, we over-process. We stew. We worry. We fret. We say "nothing's wrong". We push it down. We pursue distraction so we don't have to feel or think. We over-extend ourselves to placate, please, and attempt to influence others for the reactions we hope for.
It's all so exhausting.
We argue. We defend ourselves. We take the bait and respond to the offense.
We believe the lies of others who are manipulating us to get what they want.
We stay in strongholds because it is known territory. We feel comfortable there. Doing something new, radically changing our behavior, having godly boundaries, speaking the truth in love, letting others be upset with us, prioritizing God over all others would be a radical move for many.
And so we stay bound.
When it comes to our time and energies, we say "yes" when we should say "no". We give priority to others over time with God. We enmesh ourselves into the ways of the world, preferring entertainment and physical activity and catering to our families over God.
Ask yourself. Am I willing to forsake all others for the cost of following Christ? Are we willing to face the cost?
Luke 14:26- “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.
Are you willing to take on the disappoint of others who are pressuring you to comply with their demands and expectations? Are you willing to say,
"You know what? I have not spent a day with Jesus in a while; and I really think that I need to take that time today."
"I'm sorry I can't take you to that game, I need to spend time reading God's word this weekend."
"I'm sorry I can't rush over and do that thing you are asking me to do, I'm giving that time to Jesus today."
"I need you to figure out dinner for the next couple of nights because I'm fasting and taking that time to draw near to God."
"I can't watch this because it does not honor God."
"I want to go back to church even though I've gotten used to worshipping at home. I need to not forsake gathering with the other believers.”
"Even though I don’t see how it will work, I will give God the first fruits of my finances. He shall provide."
"I'm not going to go for that run Saturday, I'm going to spend time with Jesus."
"I'm not going to call my friend and process this relationship to death one more time. I'm going to take it to Jesus."
"I'm not going to burn hours fretting and worrying. I'm going to believe in God's promises and persist in prayer."
"I'm not going to allow you to talk this way to me any more and guilt me into submission. When you are ready to stop blaming and shaming, we can be in relationship again. Until then, I will pray for you."
"I can't listen anymore to the bitterness you feel towards "x". When you are ready to pray about it and bring all that upset to God in prayer, let me know. I will be there for you."
Are these statement, part of your regular language? Let it give you pause.
If not, God has freedom and power for you who want to start speaking in these ways! He will defend you. He wants to empower you and set you free, to not be dominated by your flesh or by the ways of others. Get out of the rut, ask for Him to redeem your ways! To break strongholds! To fill you with His life and power! Mourn over your ways that put God last, that gives Him little.
Really consider... What steps do you need to take to put Christ first? The questions aren't meant to guilt you into anything. Jesus wants you to make Him priority as an expression of love you feel towards Him, in response to how good and merciful He has been to you! Love and obedience are not mutually exclusive. One requires the other.
John 14:15-18 “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
He will come to you. Pray something along these lines, for whatever applies...
"I miss you Jesus. I want more time with you. I want to know You better. I see how good you have been to me. I realize I am too self-consumed and I don't like that. I want you to change me. I need help with resolving relational conflict. I have bitter responses towards others and I need to confess that. I allow others to control me; and I don't know how to give a godly response. I believe your promises are true. Impress upon my heart a promise you want me to memorize. I believe in you, help me deepen in belief and trust. I don't know your Word well enough. Forgive me for pursuing lesser things. I want to know you better so I can hear your voice more clearly. I can't remember the last time I really experienced your presence and I want to pursue you. Help me intercede for my loved ones and be watchful in prayer because you have asked me to do that."
(Note: To intercede for a loved one(s), click pic above for an interactive exercise of breath prayer intercession.)
In closing, I encourage you to read Revelation chapters 2 and 3 for what the Spirit of the LORD says to the churches. What church are you in? Let it move you to an urgency to cry out for awakening, revival, and purifying work of the Spirit in you, your family, your church, and community. We need to be the virgins filled with oil in these times.
Matthew 16:2-3- 2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
Simple moments. Around a table. Texting with a friend. As you put your child to bed. While meeting up for coffee. While on a date. At a check out. While waiting for a meeting to start...
"Let me tell you about what God did for me today.."
Psalm 66:16 says- Come and hear, all you who fear God, let me tell you what He has done for me.
We are to invite others to HEAR what God has done for us. Notice the psalmist calls those who fear God to listen. Often those who don’t fear Him won’t listen. But as we share amongst those willing to "come and hear", we encourage each other. We strengthen ourselves in the wait. We realize we are not alone. We influence our little ones and the next generation to love and honor God. And this is a worshipful act. We can do it around others not willing to listen, but are within earshot. It will perhaps invite questions and curiosity, releasing the power of God through our confession. It encourages other people to consider the promises of God. He helps us to love one another and Him in deeper ways. He wants us to celebrate Him together, to gather and give thanks and praise!
When is the last time you said to someone, “Listen to what God has done, or just did for me…”? It can be as simple as saying, “I really have to share that God got me through this day. I woke up fearful, but I admitted that to Him first thing, and then had a strength not my own for the rest of the day.. He heard my prayer and helped me.” As we make these simple confessions to each other on how we rely on Him in the finite moments and troubles of our lives, we worship Him. We spread good news, encourage the saints, and glorify His name.
Today, who is someone who fears God that you can tell them what God has done for you?
“Come and hear, all you who fear God, let me tell you what He has done for me.”- Psalm 66:16
If you want to go further in this form of worship, listen in to Wednesday 8/11/21's podcast for this exercise of worship of "Come and hear". You will take the instrumental time to tell Him...
And then take the simple action before you lay your head down tonight, to tell someone else what God has done for you. Let’s practice it. Let’s make it a habit of encouraging each other in these ways and so worship Him to the glory of His Name! "Come and hear all God has done for me!"
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Prayer is Gift!
Hi my name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 25 year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and praying for His life in greater measure!