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!
A handful of months before C19 changed our lives, the LORD transitioned the ministry from being mostly in person group sessions to instead being online ministry. I started using Zoom in September of 2019 and started holding group prayer and meditation sessions that way. Then in the Spring of 2020, after we were instructed to lock down, I felt urgency to reach people on a more day-to-day basis. I felt very burdened about the emotional and mental state of believers and how to offer an easily accessible prayer resource people could do on their own time. The result was the Monday through Friday podcast that offers interactive prayer exercises in less than 10 minutes per day.
It's been about 2 years of online ministry. And it's easy to wonder what difference I really make. The whispers of God come to turn my thoughts away from needing to know and remind me of the simple call, "Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep."
I've always felt that I've needed to be fed and tended to by God before I can pour out something that ministers to others. So for each day, I'm first spending time with God in the Word and in prayer. Then based upon inspiration from that time with God, I'm writing up the podcast session, and then recording and editing it for daily upload. One of my least favorite activities is recording video messages for various social media sites. It still feels so awkward for me to talk a little camera hole on my laptop or cell phone 😆. I also type replies to prayer requests or posts, but am often limited to number of words for response. So basically there is limited knowledge and interaction I have of what God is doing for the person on the other side of the screen or phone. And as the days have turned into years, I have moments where ministry can get pretty lonely. I often wonder who is listening, watching, reading, engaging, and what the Spirit is doing. I really miss being face-to-face with people, hearing their voices, connecting before and after sessions, praying in person with people, getting in-person reaction. But God has called me to surrender to the change, so I have learned to release the outcomes to Him and just keep obeying to the call, "Feed my lambs. Tend to my sheep."
He knows just when to sustain me in weariness with a word, as Isaiah 50:4 prophesied that He would do! He's sent words to encourage me over the last couple of weeks!
Recently, a few people have taken extra effort to give me feedback, which has meant so much to me! I want to share it because it is for God's glory, and maybe their messages are meant to sustain you too!
At the end of April, I got an email from a man named Doug. He's been listening to the podcasts for awhile. It was so kind and generous of him to encourage me! He has pressed in to know Jesus during his long and painful trial; and as a result, the LORD has strengthened him physically, mentally, and spiritually through regular listening of Peace Be Still! You can read his words for yourself in the screenshot capture below! ⬇
Isn't his testimony so encouraging?! I am so honored to be one small way God has reached in with His healing hands! I believe God to do deeper levels of healing in Doug and to continue to give life to his mortal body through the Spirit of God who lives in him, Romans 8:11!
In addition to Doug's email, recently a podcast listener by the name of Peggy took extra steps to leave a comment on the blog.
What a gift to know that people are experiencing God's joy because of the prayer times in the podcast!
And another podcast listener named Stacy searched me out recently on Instagram. She says she looks forward to the podcast every day and that she loves being prayed over in the sessions!
Despite our interactions becoming increasingly digital, our relational needs still must be met! We need to know we are not alone! We are healed and helped through the prayers of the saints! Hearing prayer, practicing prayer, receiving prayer, proclaiming God's Word as true, and agreeing in prayer are all part of experiencing spiritual breakthrough!
Are you practicing? Are you receiving the prayers being prayed over you in the podcasts? Are you agreeing? Are you meditating on the promises of God? Are you proclaiming His Word as true in your prayer language?
Listen to the podcast! Let me know how they are helping you!
And for those who take the time to come back around to thank God for the ministry, I believe they shall receive extra blessing! With the measure you use, it will be measured back to you! A good measure pressed down and running over shall be poured into your lap, Luke 6:38! So thank you again for any of you who would write a podcast review, send an email, leave a blog comment, or engage with me on social media!
And if any of you want to let us know you appreciate this ministry by making a donation, that would also be warmly received! The podcast has enough volume now that we could monetize, but the LORD has told me not to do so at this point. I don't know if that would every change. But for now, the podcast is a listening experience that is not interrupted or disturbed by commercials. Being commercial free protects your listening experience and your time with God.
Help us keep the podcast commercial free!
Your donations go towards ever increasing costs of ministry. We have monthly software costs for podcast, music use, website, images, equipment upgrades, advertising, etc. Last year one generous donor invested in our podcast technology so you could experience a more professional sound and pleasant listener experience. It is only through your donations that we can reach more and continue improving the prayer resources we offer! Thank you for considering it! Be blessed in His presence!
Based upon Easter just passing, have you thought about the fact that if you were one of his disciples at that time, He'd still be appearing to you, not yet ascended to the Father?
Acts 1:3- After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
He asked them to wait. To wait on the gift His Father had promised.
That was not just for then. We need fresh fillings and strength that comes from waiting with God. Jesus taught that we are to stay persistent, ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking, In prayer, He told us to ask for good gifts from the Spirit of God, Luke 11:5-13.
We are called to wait. It is a critical lesson for a healthy prayer and faith walk.
But we hate to wait!!! It's one of the most difficult things we experience in the Christian faith. Sometime answers come very quickly, but other times, the "thing" we prayed for has yet to come to pass. It can be a long wait for some prayer requests. We have trouble filling time with God in the waiting. We must practice. We must develop a spiritual discipline.
How can we endure difficult times of waiting? It is a test of our relationship with God. What comes up in our feelings and thoughts in the waiting? Bitterness, impatience, demands, discouragement, giving up? Walking away from God and letting go of our time with Him?
We need to confess those things to God and to each other. We can't hide what He already sees. Relieve burden and admit upsetting feelings you have. Do it in a way that honors Him. "God I'm really having a hard time. Please help me wait on your perfect timing."
God knows we struggle waiting.
It's helpful to see how God defines waiting. See picture below of Strong's H6960. Notice in the Hebrew, it is binding together, by twisting. As rope strands are twisted together, we are to be woven into God.
Woven into His very being. We cling. We abide. We believe in Him, we develop our love relationship with God during the waiting. It is the greatest commandment to love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. In the waiting, we value our relationship with Him more than the "answer". We root ourselves in the love of God. We're going to spend eternity with Him! It will be above and beyond all we ask or can imagine!
But waiting, it's so hard....... wahhhhhhhhh! I get it!
In the long seasons of waiting, too many of us think whether consciously or unconsciously, "He didn't give me what I wanted, so I'm not interested in lingering with God." Or, "He hasn't yet answered so I'm going to spend my time in other ways.. It's boring. I run out of words. I just keep repeating myself."
I've been there many times! And in reflection, too many times I realize I've behaved like a petulant child not getting what she wanted. If I can't drive my agenda in my time with God, it has left to neglecting time in His presence.
Waiting is a call to lift your eyes to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith! To accept His timing and in the waiting, practice His presence and linger with Him! Now is the best time to deepen and enjoy waiting in His presence!
Psalm 27:14 tells us that waiting produces a strengthening of heart. And to be strengthened, a courage is necessary! A courage to believe God is good. That He is in control! That His timing is perfect and His ways of answering are part of his promise to complete the good work He began in us! To continue to wait on the LORD!
Time with God doesn't have to be complicated. It definitely doesn't have to be boring and miserable. You don't have to have a ton of words. Use His words. His Word is living and active. Learn to enjoy Him! He rewards those who earnestly seek Him!
So press in for His presence and peace. Be open and let Him know you want to deepen in trust and in the waiting. His Spirit and Word does the work. And in the process you shall be strengthened, strengthened to linger and wait with hope!
Where are you today in the waiting? Practice His presence today! Episode 519 is a Mellow Monday exercise using breath prayer to meditate and repeat Psalm 27:14.
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 Dawn will visit us from on high... Luke 1:78 Berean Study Bible
Today visualize the light of Christ piercing your darkness. It’s why He has come.
Zechariah called him the Dawn who would visit us from on high.
That language is part of his prophetic praise found in Luke 1:68-80.
To review the account of Zechariah in full, and his part in the birth story of Jesus, read Luke 1:5-25 and verses 57-80.
Part of this account is that Zechariah was muted for 9 months during the miraculous pregnancy of Elizabeth. This happened because he didn’t believe in the angel Gabriel’s message of a promised son as answer to his prayers.
Consider... How many of us are muted in some way because we refuse to believe in promises of God, in the miracle working power of God?
Is your faith bigger than your limitations? Are you believing in the whispers of His holy Word?
We know that Zechariah didn’t stay muted. After John the Baptist was born, Zechariah’s tongue was set free, and he began to speak praising God.
Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied about the One coming who would redeem his people in order to forgive, set free, rescue, remember His holy covenant, enable God’s people to serve him without fear. He prophesied how Zechariah's son John, would prepare the way for the Most High.
And here is how his prophesy ends…
Luke 1:78-79 ...Because of our God’s deep compassion,
the dawn from heaven will break upon us,
to give light to those who are sitting in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide us on the path of peace.”
In the Berean translation, Jesus is the Dawn with a capital D. Other translations say “day spring”, the Sunrise with a capital “S”, the morning light. Christ confirmed these truths by boldly proclaiming that yes, He was the light of the world, John 8:12.
John 1:4-5 says that "in him was life and that life was the light of ALL of mankind. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:9 says Christ is the true light that gives light to all men and he was coming into the world.
To give light to those sitting in darkness... Where are you sitting in darkness?
Darkness in both verses from John 1 and Luke 1 is shadiness, obscurity, blindness, ignorance of divine things, ungodliness, immorality, a spiritual state where darkness becomes visible and holds sway.
Are you blinded by unbelief? Is your faith muted because of unbelief? What is the last step of faith you took beyond your own ability and resources? Is your vision shrouded by confusion, despair, hopelessness? What is the darkness you are dwelling in, sitting in today?
Because of his deep compassion, the Dawn from Heaven breaks upon you, to give you light, to guide you in a path of peace.
Let’s pray. Christ our true light, the Dawn who came to visit us from on high, pierce this one’s darkness with your marvelous light. Lord, because of your tender mercy, flood their heart with light from on high.
(Pause- By faith, see His light flooding your heart and mind.)
Pray, "grant me vision Jesus."
"Give light to my eyes. I admit ignorance about divine things. Pierce my darkness. Give light to my darkness. Rescue me from the shadow of death, thoughts that are hopeless, choices that are dead ends, feelings that snuff out life and faith. Forgive my unbelief. Cleanse me of ungodly thoughts and ways. Purify me with your light. Guide my feet into your path of peace."
Now take a few minutes and still yourself in His presence. See the Dawn from on high coming from on high, His light surrounding you like a shield, lighting a pathway of peace before you. Rest in his holy light.
This season give thanks for the Dawn who descended from on high. Do not be silent. Speak about Him. Take steps of faith believing His life is your guiding light in the darkness.
And pray for someone you love or know that needs Christ's light to pierce their darkness. Ask Jesus to surround them with His holy light. Take the time to envision His light descending and giving light to their darkness, guiding them into the way of peace.
Did you enjoy this reflection? If so, take a listen to more Advent reflections on our podcast that began on December 1st. Visit the podcast tab to listen or find PEACE BE STILL DAILY PRAYER DOWNLOAD on your podcast provider!
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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!"
We're approaching Thanksgiving! Seems time has flown! Lots to be thankful for as this year winds down, despite this crazy, chaotic world and all of its bad news!
In such turbulent times, our center and stronghold in Christ and his promises guides us and stabilizes us. The world's news is not our news. He is our victory and supply and future. He is our right now promise. His peace is to rule in our hearts! With Him as our Good Shepherd, we lack nothing! He alone is our reason to be thankful, even if all we would have on our table this Thanksgiving were a dry crust.
Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.- Proverbs 17:1
His Peace is a precious gift, such a gift that it is to be chosen over a house of feasting with strife. It's time to be a peacemaker when so many are quick to offense and argument. I speak this to myself as much as to you. Should we engage in that political discussion? How should we reply to that relative who is bitter and miserable? Are we bringing peace to the discussion, to table of fellowship?
Meditate on Proverbs 17:1 and Colossians 3:15 as you approach a season of gathering with family. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts in these gatherings. Be prayed up before you go! Let others know why Christ's peace satisfies your deepest needs, and fills you in a way nothing and no one else can!
ON to some updates! It's been about a month since you last got an email or blog from me. Things have been busy; and ministry fruitful! Podcast listenership continues to grow! I traveled to Iowa and held my first in-person group session in over 2 years! What a blessing it was! Witnessed on flights going out and coming back! That's a whole blog on it's own! But know that the meditation event that I put together (Prayer Rhythms) was wonderful! God spoke and ministered deeply and sweetly to participants! I'll be holding that session for another private group first week of December! Oh how I have missed in-person ministry! (If you have interest in in-person private group sessions, please reply to this email.)
And look for an email on some online sessions upcoming for PRAYER RHYTHMS!
In addition, social media reach is still a wilderness to navigate, but since it is where so many people are "gathering", I'm believing God for breakthrough! I keep hearing whispers and promptings from the Spirit to not give up, but boy is there so much to learn! Pray for reach and breakthrough! It takes a lot of time and energy! But I believe the whispers and victory is coming!
My "every day" includes writing, recording, editing audio, creating social media images and posts, praying for and connecting with people online, learning social media, etc. The days fly by! Also every Friday, I'm still doing a live prayer broadcast with Cheryl Wells (sweet friend, ministry partner, and our Board Chair).
Have you listened to the podcast of late? Over the last many weeks, I've been recording a series on the Holy Spirit (starting with episode 399). It is still going! There is so many scriptures about His role in our faith life! Many of us need to connect with the Holy Spirit on deeper levels, acknowledging His role. He is One of the Trinity, not an it. I pray you listen to one or all of the 19 sessions so far! Here is some detail from the first handful of episodes, but know today was episode 418, so this is just a sampling! Access the podcast on any podcast app or listen from the podcast tab.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving as you rejoice in the goodness of God and the peace of Christ!
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.- Galatians 5:1
Every Friday morning we broadcast LIVE in our private FB group, Peace Be Still Daily Prayer download (ask to join via FB!). We discuss a prayer topic in parallel with a scripture, and then take time to pray for people in the group. Normally I have a fairly easy time settling on the topic, but this morning I wrestled.
I woke at 4am; and didn't feel settled until about 6:45am on what to share.
Part of my wrestling was thinking about a peaceful protest I attended on Monday, wanting to learn more about the healthcare workers standing for their right to make their own choices. I wanted to hear some first-hand accounts and experiences. I only conversed with 3 medical professionals. They gave detailed information about their upset, clearly burdened not only for what they were feeling coerced to do, but for what their patients suffered after making personal choice to trust the process. They've come away disheartened, and weary; but strong in conviction that they've learned too much at this point to trust the process themselves, at least at this point. They have questions. They want to give more time to see how things look further down the road. They've faced it, worked the front lines of it. They've exposed their families and endured tremendous pressure already. Their experience should tell us something, and we should honor their choice. But instead, they are being punished.
(Did you know that Uttar Pradesh (240m people) is only 5% inoculated, yet just hit 0% death rate? Read that again. And then consider, how is that possible? I've been to India and it's not a social distance kind of place. It's also not a culture that practices regular handwashing Over 334,000 children die per year, attributable to diarrheal diseases! Think about that. That is quite the test population with a lot of odds against them for controlling virus. So why 0% death rate now? Check me on it. See how they handled it, and simply ponder why we aren't being given those options. It's what many in the medical field see and are challenging. A massive lawsuit has been filed by 10K doctors claiming "crimes against humanity" by fraud. Strong words. They've felt they have been hamstrung; unable to care for their patients and prevented from following their Hippocratic oath. It's the largest group lawsuit ever. Think about that.)
How are you responding to this so far? Do you have love and compassion; or are you feeling upset and embittered? For some of you it is helping because its based upon rational thought and you are fine with being challenged to question and explore more. But if you have upset, have you talked to a medical person who doesn't want to be coerced? Have you heard their perspective? Are you willing to honor their choice as they have honored yours?
God wants us to be at peace with one another. He does not want us consumed by fear and having harsh judgments within. We need to bring that to Him and confess our fears and upset asking for freedom He promises. If fear drives us we'll probably be upset and harsh with others. But if faith has settled us and the Spirit has transformed us, we'll be compassionate and anger won't fuel us.
Remember--------- Jesus says that the love of many will grow cold in last days. There will be a spirit of lawlessness behind this work. It's sad, but it seems like we are in building up to ice cold hearts pretty rapidly.
So just check and see. Are you judging those on the "other side" or are you compassionate and giving people freedom to explore and make decisions? Do you make decisions from always believing what you are told? Are you asking God to show you what is true? He is Wonderful Counselor. He promises to give us wisdom by faith, James 1:2-8.
Rejoice! We Christians are very special people endowed with supernatural promises! God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind, 2 Timothy 1:7! It is for freedom that Christ has set us free! Live as children of the free woman!
Galatians 4: 28Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
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.
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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!