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!
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.
Below is content from today's podcast. It is part of a series on spiritual weapons of warfare. If asked about weapons of warfare, some people give a blank stare, some say it is making reference to the armor of God. However, the armor is not the weapons, it's the armor. Some say our weapon is the WORD of God which is true, but more so on terms of where all the weapons are found. It's plural, not one weapon, but weapons with an "s".
God has given us a powerful arsenal of weaponry. All without blood and gore. The blood has already been let by Him. No He has other weapons we are to use and they lead to life, power, healing, and intimacy with Him. In 2 Chronicles chapter 20 alone, I found 30 weapons of warfare!
Do you think you could name 10 weapons of warfare off the top of your head? Stop right now and try to name 10 spiritual weapons of warfare that are mighty in God for the destruction of strongholds, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
Talking of spiritual weapons of warfare and destruction of strongholds can feel very elusive or like a high-minded philosophical discussion on spiritual matters far beyond our understanding. But this is not to be the case. If you take the time to understand what the LORD is saying, you'll find very practical insights to apply within that lead to freedom and deep healing. Of course this is not to be done alone, but with the help of and in the presence of our safe and Holy friend, Jesus. His friendship is a powerful weapon of warfare to destroy fortified places within us...
For more, this is where I'll transition you to today's podcast content. Read below the line for its content, or to participate by listening and engaging in the interactive prayer exercises, please visit the podcast page to tune into the entire series. You can find Peace Be Still Daily Prayer Download on Apple Podcasts, Google podcasts, Iheart radio, Spreaker, Spotify and more. Follow the program on your podcast provider to be notified of new episodes! (Note: The number of listens daily for the podcast started in May continues to grow. We in the ministry are so excited for this holy work of inspiring people to pray! To donate because you believe in our mission, and so we can reach more, please click on the donate button in the column to the right! God bless your generosity!)
PODCAST EPISODE 150- SPIRITUAL WEAPON #6- FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD
Today we are meditating upon the friendship of God. It’s weapon #6 in this series on praying for
victory over fears and negative counsel of the soul. Why is friendship a weapon? The language of
weapon comes from 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. These supernatural weapons have power to bring down
strongholds. Some strongholds require outside forces. And friendship with God is a magnificent
weapon on these terms.
But first, what is a stronghold? Do you have strongholds? Strongholds are fortified places of safety,
arguments and reasonings on which you rely to stay safe. Is this good or bad? Both, but in terms of
being weapons of warfare to bring down strongholds, they are places that must be torn down. These
negative strongholds are set up in the mind, affecting how you present yourself to others and attempt to control outcomes. It is a state of mind where in conscious and unconscious ways you fortify your soul in ways contrary to God.
Here are some examples:
It takes a lot of energy to hold your ground in these fortified spaces within. You alone are the one fighting to keep others out, and it is a long and lonely battle. It’s a battle you are losing at the expense of peace and power and healing God promises.
But we are stubborn and resistant in holding our ground! And we think we can compartmentalize these spaces in such a way that doesn’t affect us. For the most part, if we keep people at safe distances, they know little about our strongholds. Yet they do make up subtle nuances of our personality, only becoming blatantly obvious when anyone gets too close. If anyone does get too close, then look out, because you know how to keep people out. And these are places and spaces and thoughts and feelings that God’s word says that are strongholds. “I’m holding on to my shame.” “I won’t let myself get hurt again”. And “I cannot forgive” is completely contrary to God. These are places that must be destroyed.
And He is the friend, the safe place, the gentle Savior who we can trust to tear down all our arguments and have an open concept design within, a place without walls and barriers within our hearts. He becomes our stronghold and we are set free!
Friendship with God as a weapon is referenced through scripture. But since we are meditating upon 2
Chronicles 20 in this series, related to weapons of warfare, friendship with God is mentioned in verse 7 and is today's weapon.
In verse 7, the king reminds God of the covenant he made with Abraham, whom God called his friend. We see this language of Abraham being God's friend in verse 7. And we too have that privilege of being a friend of God! Jesus says in John 15:15, “I have called you friends, for everything I learned from my Father, I make known to you.” As our friend, Jesus shares his secrets with us! Psalm 25:14 says that the secret friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him. It says the Lord confides in those who fear him, he makes his covenant known to them.
The LORD confiding in you and making his covenant known in the deepest recesses of your soul will set you free from strongholds. He will tear down those walls of shame, fear, anger, unforgiveness,
He wants to confide in you! He wants to reveal the riches of His covenant in ways that set you free,
heal, redeems, makes new. I was with a friend this week who recounted a recent time that God spoke one word to her that transformed her whole perspective. It was about a stronghold of control. As she continued to share, out came a supernatural outpouring of wisdom and holy counsel of all she learned just from that one word from her holy friend Jesus! I said, “Wow, you got all of that from just one word from Jesus?” “Yes!” We laughed and marveled at the goodness and power that comes from just one word Jesus speaks to our soul!
So today, do not resist our Holy friend. Consider how your strongholds manifest today. What are you
compartmentalizing? How are you keeping him out, choosing instead to fortify your position? By
arguing with God or others? Are you stuffing your feelings by numbing them say with food, by over-eating? Do you have passive aggressive tendencies? Are you withdrawing or hiding from those closest to you? Jesus can be trusted.
He is safe. You won’t know the truth until you surrender and trust Him. And the simplest way to start is to talk openly and honestly with Him as friend. “Jesus, every time I feel vulnerable or anxious, I am
reaching for food.” “Jesus, I don’t think anyone will ever really love me. So I am keeping busy to avoid intimacy. Or I am reading romance novels to get what I need or I am watching “x” to feel what I long for. I’m keeping you out of these places.”
Confide. It’s powerful. Life changing. It will destroy the arguments draining you of life, of power.
Use this quiet time to ask Jesus to tear down strongholds within. “Jesus tear down my strongholds. Ask Jesus, what are my strongholds? Set me free.”
(Note in the podcast, a gentle instrumental plays at the end for a short, but quiet time to pray that prayer above and enjoy His friendship.)
In the last blog I mentioned I had participated in a Christian mindfulness presentation that included some interactive exercises. It was being sponsored and hosted by a well-known national denomination. This gave it some credibility in my mind, so I signed up. I was interested in how it would be approached by the Christian PHD (doctor of philosophy) who taught it. I was hopeful I could learn something and find similarities in what God has called me to do through Into the Waters. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed. But God showed up in it, and gave me a message I understood. This is a long post; but an important one. I’ll share some of what I experienced in the session; but first briefly touch on mindfulness as a current cultural trend.
Mindfulness is a buzz word right now, but it is not new. It has deep spiritual roots going back thousands of years. Some roots are from Christianity, others are not. It has gained traction in our current culture because it has been presented as non-religious, useful for all people regardless of spiritual beliefs. Various forms of mindfulness are being encouraged, taught, and implemented in school systems, corporate training programs, healthcare systems, sports training, consulting practices, armed forces drills, etc. This article states it is the fastest growing health trend in America.
Mindfulness practices are intriguing to people because “statistics show” it lowers stress, improves productivity, increases mental focus, betters physical health, strengthens relationships, stokes creativity, lowers employee turnover, etc. Some are even claiming it has the power to obliterate fear! Pretty impressive!
Should I believe the hype? What is mindfulness exactly and as a Christian, how is it to be practiced, if at all? What are its implications? Does it square with Christianity?
According to Oxford dictionary, mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by concentrating on the present moment, while calmly accepting the feelings and thoughts that come to you, used as a technique to help you relax.”
Oxford dictionary also credits mindfulness as a concept from Zen Buddhism. Mindfulness practices typically include exercises of breathing, visualizing, noticing feeling and thoughts within present moment in order to make better choices to respond in calm and self-controlled ways. Those practices are very commonly considered mindfulness meditation techniques.
Prepare to be confused….
In contrast, a mindfulness organization states it is NOT about achieving a state of calm. They state, “it is just about noticing whatever experience we're having, including all the thoughts, feelings or physical sensations that are a part of it… we learn the skill of becoming aware of our thoughts, without necessarily doing anything with them. By just noticing thoughts, we learn how to unhook ourselves from our identification with them. This is different from pushing thoughts away. It’s how we relate to our thoughts, not the absence of them.” So are you confused by that? I am. (If interested, click here to read their entire document. )
It is a frustrating prospect to me that I am to notice my thoughts and feelings and not necessarily do anything with them, except "unhook" myself from them, whatever that means. And if I am to rely on my own power to make better choices in moments, again, losing prospect for me personally. I don't have that power. God has shown me my desperate, urgent every day need for mind renewal on His terms, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
But let’s not throw mindfulness aside yet, because mindfulness is actually God's concept and here is his definition- Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Going further, mindfulness as God intends, involves the biblical practice of meditation.
We can see the importance God places on meditation in Joshua 1:8 when He tells His people that, if done His way, meditation guarantees prosperity and success. If He is taken out of that equation, it is a worldly concept and smoke and mirrors.
Now let me give you a practical example to sort through. Let's go back to the event I mentioned in the beginning… It was marketed as Christian Mindfulness and Spirituality, so I figured it would be presented in a biblical way that aligned with God's definition of mindfulness and meditation. Instead, it was a dangerous mix of truth and lies.
The presenter shared in the first segment that Christian mindfulness practices go back thousands of years to early monastic and nomadic communities. These early Christian believers practiced “constant prayer” in quiet settings in order to contemplate God and His Word and experience His presence. So far so good, until… great emphasis was placed on present moment awareness and how to respond. The presenter referenced John 10:10 to emphasize Jesus’ promise to give life and life in abundance. A great promise! But the scripture was used as backdrop to support present moment awareness. She stated we are to focus on what can be seen in order to recognize the ordinary abundance all around us in order to fill us.
Do you see what is wrong with the presenter’s interpretation?
Focusing on what can be seen to be filled is NOT the context of what Jesus meant at all. He did not mean that we are to focus on life all around us to fill us. He meant that the promised life of abundance came through His life that He would give us. We are to be filled by Him, Romans 15:13. Since she was incorrectly interpreting the meaning of John 10:10, this was where I began to get uncomfortable in the presentation.
She continued by inviting us to have an attitude of curiosity. This meant to practice noticing ordinary abundance and to be present in a moment. She instructed us to close our eyes and imagine ourselves as an alien visiting the earth for the first time. Then, as an alien, we were to reach out our hand and pick something up from earth. Since we were visiting earth, it would be something we had never seen before. We were to look at it, feel it, observe it, engage all of our senses, and manipulate it if possible. We were told this was an exercise to train our brains to be more mindful by focusing intently on a present moment. As she presented this exercise, I suddenly became very mindful of something rising up in me. My feelings and thoughts were't pleasant, nor was I feeling very calm suddenly. Maybe this was to be the point I "unhooked" myself, LOL.
Would you have participated in this exercise?
I did not do the exercise. I was shocked. Jesus’ beautiful promise to give life in abundance was twisted. There was no suggestion to pick up something God designed, like a beautiful rose for example. We could have closed our eyes and noticed the intricacies of God’s handiwork and how it awakened all of our senses, causing us to wonder at the glory of God. Instead, I was to be an alien and pick up “something” I had never seen before. Given the fact that there was no encouragement at all to give God glory for whatever the created thing was, she lost me as a participant at this exercise.
However, I didn’t disconnect from the presentation. I still hoped it would get better, but truly was more curious as to how much worse it could get.
Shortly after the alien exercise, she mentioned Matthew 11:28 which is Jesus’ invitation to all who are weary and burdened to come to Him for rest. She used it to illustrate a mindfulness point that when we are weary and burdened, we can train ourselves to choose our response. Red flag. Her translation was way outside of the boundary of what Jesus was saying. He wants us to come to Him with our weakness and learn from him so he can restore us. He never encourages us to train ourselves to choose our response in our own power.
At this point in the online presentation, something fell to the ground which startled the presenter, causing her to swing around in her chair and grab the item on the ground very quickly. When she came back into view, she looked a bit shocked. But then she quickly closed her eyes and breathed deeply to take a mindfulness moment. She then explained to all of us, that a candle had fallen to the ground suddenly. Since it was lit, she needed to get it immediately, stating she was fearful it would cause a fire. But, she noted she was immediately relieved, because the candle had gone out upon hitting the ground.
At this, I smiled and was mindful of sudden relief. I took it as God’s little wink to me that He was connecting with my upset. This was not a Spirit-filled Christian mindfulness session. It was a session where the light was snuffed out. Bad sign.
The crescendo was a poem she shared from a well-known writer who has recently passed away, and who, by the way, was an atheist. Yes of course, perfect ending, inspire me with an atheist's words of not knowing how to pray. Yes, the poem she shared emphasized not knowing how to pray, but knowing how to fall down into the grass and pay attention. I was seriously in a state of shock.
Could it get any worse? I stuck around to the very end hoping the host or participants might reveal their dismay. But the host praised her. Only 2 participants made comments; and they were also praises! Ugh.
I know this is a long post, but it is so important. Some might think I am overly critical or harsh. But I politely disagree. So many are being led as sheep to the slaughter by the enemy who delights in twisting and perverting God's ways. We should be hyper-vigilant in these times to honor God and meditate on His Word in context. We must be rooted and grounded in God’s word to discern between good and evil, Hebrews 5:13-14. God calls us to exercise our spiritual senses through constant use in order to discern. Are you exercising your spiritual senses?
Into the Waters offers resources to train yourself to exercise your spiritual senses through prayer and meditation in context of His truth. Our classes and online resources emphasize the critical nature of lingering with God, inviting the Holy Spirit, meditating on His Word, talking openly and vulnerably with Him, waiting in His presence, giving Him glory, and surrendering to His leading. Practice those type of exercises with us!
We are holding a session Sunday March 15th at 8pm EST called the Word of God. We will ponder 4 different ways the enemy of our soul attacks us. There is also challenge to ask God to do something new and supernatural. There are exercises to quiet yourself and renew in His presence. Join us! Sign up here. And stay tuned because I will also be announcing an April session related to new life, just prior to Easter. I hope you join one or both! And if you are looking for even more, try this biblically based mindfulness challenge that I posted recently on our Facebook and Instagram page. Try it with a friend! Click on the picture below for instructions.
Since Fall of last year, Into the Waters' prayer and meditation sessions have been held in an online format. They have been going very well, with every survey revealing 100% would recommend the session to others! It is precious time with God.
Here is one comment from a participant in the January 25th session-
"I liked the ability to do this online in my own space. Great job in guiding us through the exercises."
It was an early morning start at 8am EST, with the majority connecting from the East Coast, a couple others connecting from CST, and a couple more from the PST (a 5am start!) This the very cool thing of gathering for a session online. You connect from the comfort of your own space and time zone! God will bless those early birds!
I started the session by sharing a few personal examples of difficult moments of mental battle, confusion, and burden that have happened since the start of the year. For the most part I started the year pretty positive; but it didn't take long until battle ensued. I've learned God leads me in a process, taking me through lessons that are not just for me; but for others. As I share, I see that my experience comforts and encourages others, 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. We are in this together! God wants us to know we are not alone in our trials. You will experience that if you participate in a session.
Related to the lessons God took me through, I was able to share how God led me to victory in 3 different ways; the lesson being there is no formula with God. We need to hone our skill set in spiritual terms and tune to the leading of the Spirit. Do you know how to do that? He wants us to be aware of the variety of weapons at our disposal to gain victory in our troubles. Do you know what some spiritual weapons might be?
Most Christians are very limited in knowing how to battle through. So as I got closer to the session, I realized that the WORD of GOD session was to partly be about how we overcome. I shared 4 ways the enemy of our souls attacks us. Participants were led through prayerful reflection time with God to meditate and ponder how the enemy might be tempting them. 50% of participants noted they received revelation from God on an area that needed healing. PRAISE GOD!
"My joy of the Lord was restored in realizing I was allowing it to be stolen." - Jan 25th participant
Also the sessions always include a good portion of time to still ourselves before Him and invite His presence. 70% of participants particularly enjoyed being able to still and quiet themselves in His presence. In the hustle and bustle of our attention deprived lives, it is more critical than ever to make hard stops, to be vigilant in protecting quiet time with the LORD. Many of us need to be hyper-vigilant in an aggressive way, especially if we are exhausted, depleted, burdened, complaining, and anxious. We say we don't have time, but Jesus was very clear with Martha telling her that only one thing was truly necessary. He stood in defense of her sister Mary who chose time at the Lord's feet. He made it clear IT WOULD NOT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM HER, Luke 10:42. God's defense of your time with Him is already there, are you letting Him defend your time with Him?
"I really sense a need to be more mindful of listening better this year. I tend to want to do all the talking. This process was very helpful to me in practicing that." - January 25th participant
That feedback makes me so happy and thankful! It's testimony of one who is being self-reflective and wanting to "practice"! We can talk, talk, talk to God; but do we stop and listen? Each session always includes time to ask God for things, for vision of the unseen, and then wait on what is impressed, to make note of what comes to mind as we meditate on His truths. In the last session, we asked God to do something new! Something supernatural and of the Spirit! ASK.
"God insists that we ask, not because He needs to know our situation, but because we need the spiritual discipline of asking."- Catherine Marshall, author (1914-1983)
To close this post out, I want to point out the word "mindful" that was used in the participant's quote above. It has become a real buzzword in our culture. And Christians are being led astray related to it. I want to share more about mindfulness; but won't be sharing about it in this blog. I will in the next. It will be about a session I attended recently that was hosted by a national Christian denomination. I signed up hopeful to learn from the PHD who lead it. Unfortunately, I came away very disappointed and concerned. It didn't calm me or benefit my spirit. Will share more next week.
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Hello! Have you signed up for our next session yet? It’s approaching! Saturday January 25th at 8am is the date and time! Sign up here! The session is called the “WORD of GOD” and it’s tied to the 2020 WORD “ASCEND” that I shared in the first blog of the year. Read it here.
Over the past several months I have had conversations with 2 different men who both diminished to not just tears, but deep sobbing as I spoke with them. One man was about to put his dog down. He was going alone to do it. He started out stoic in the conversation, until I mentioned God. The other was just betrayed and left by his wife after 25 years of marriage. He started out complaining, until I mentioned God. Neither were believers in God to my knowledge. My conversations with each were different; but a common “WORD” I said to each was, “I will pray that God comforts you, that you know you are not alone.” With those words, emotion broke through. The intensity of their emotion surprised me, but I took it as a holy moment, and prayed for their souls while they released pain. Each were in desperate need of a sustaining WORD from God.
While searching for a picture for this blog I found this one without copyright restrictions. The man who took the photo made this comment about what it means- "...I always keep a wide smile on my mouth, but sometimes I feel that I am lifting mountains of depression on my chest. Wondering why? My keyboard will run out of alphabets if I answered that question! MAY GOD HELP ME!"
That's a big unspoken confession. Mountains of depression! Prayers alone, without the WORD of God, are they enough to sustain us? See below on 4 temptations of Jesus. How did Jesus reply, with prayer or in another way?
Each of us, no matter our circumstances, need a sustaining WORD from God... as regularly as the meals we eat! Jesus was clear that we do not live on bread alone, i.e. on things that sustain our flesh. But we live by every WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God. What is the last sustaining WORD that God has spoken to you? Can and do you quiet yourself to hear it? Do you need to practice sitting quietly with God to receive it? Is the hustle and bustle of life preventing you from taking a good hour to be with God and His WORDS? If so, sign up for January 25th!
The first handful of scriptures in the Gospel of John tell us that the WORD (Jesus) “was” already. In the beginning, Jesus already “was”. Therefore, Jesus is eternal. Jesus is self-existent, just like God the Father. Before the beginning, Jesus was with GOD the Father. And Jesus is God. John tells us that Jesus is the Source and Creator of all things. In Him is life. He alone possesses life. His life is the source of light to all. Therefore, if you do not have his life in you, you do not have light in you. His light overcomes darkness. Darkness cannot lay hold of his light; it cannot overtake his light. Darkness can only be transformed by his light.
Here are the actual scriptures of John 1:1-5:
In the beginning was the WORD and the WORD was with God and the WORD was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made through Him, without Him nothing was made that had been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines through the darkness and the darkness does not comprehend it.
John chapter 1 goes on to say that the WORD became flesh and dwelt here on earth among us… If the WORD of God became flesh in Jesus, it is to become flesh in us! You can practice that with the group who is already signed up for January 25th! Sign up!
Why practice? Because you are a target for attack. If you look at the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4 ,and drill it down to Satan’s strategy, what do you see? You see that Satan attacked the identity of Jesus, the Son of God. And what did he tempt Jesus to do? This is not an exclusive list, but there are 4 big things that I saw as I meditated upon it this week:
“If you are the Son of God…”
Jesus when tempted by Satan, responded with the WORD of God that was in Him. He told Satan that man does not live on bread alone but on every WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God. He didn’t need bread to feed his flesh. He himself was the WORD that sustains. He himself is the WORD that sustains you.
For a WORD from God, Jesus wants us to consume His WORD. He wants us to hide it in our hearts so that we do not sin against Him. If Jesus had to battle using the WORD of GOD, we do also! Is His WORD in you to quickly refute and overcome lies, temptations, anxiety, fear, hopelessness, anger, judgment, self-obsession, self-hatred, pride? How do you battle and gain victory over the negative thoughts and temptations that entice your flesh desires? Or are you giving in to temptation?
Jesus has a sustaining word of the Spirit for you. A WORD from God sustains! A WORD from God heals. A WORD from God reaches into the deepest places within to restore, renew, and reframe our mind.
What is the last WORD from him that sustained you? That fed you?
The session on January 25th is about taking our eyes off of what can be seen. Because what can be seen is temporal. Instead we will focus our eyes on what is unseen, because what is unseen is eternal. We are to focus on the invisible. Looking up, reaching up, climbing up, ascending to the realm of God’s WORD. His supernatural WORD descending in us to raise us up in the power of the Spirit. Sign up for January 25th! Tell a friend!
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!)
(This blog details a bit about intercession, its blessing and power as a divine weapon of warfare to advance God’s will in the world, for ourselves, our loved ones, and the Body of Christ. Also at the end of this week’s blog are 2 ways to receive blessing from intercession through Into the Waters.)
Intercession opens up the door to meeting with the God who never changes. Yet with intercession, our God is willing to and will change his mind. He will destroy works of darkness through your intercession. He will be merciful to those who do not deserve mercy because you cry out.
To intercede is to encounter, meet, reach, entreat, fall upon with force, strike, attack. There is EARNEST persistence in intercession; there is proper application of God’s power and authority in the requests. See Ephesians 1:19-23 as just one example referencing the greatness of power available to Christians because Christ is seated above all other authority.
Christian, you are seated next to Christ, Ephesians 2:6. How do you put to use the authority you’ve been given, 1 Peter 2:9? Are you confident in your prayers? Do you speak in Christ’s authority? Many people sound unsure of themselves and unsure of God when they pray, not truly understanding the authority they’ve been given, unsure of God’s heart in a matter, or how to put their authority into divine play for victory.
Intercession is very powerful. Prayer is a divine weapon of warfare that destroys strongholds and abolishes thoughts contrary to Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
Yet few, very few, seem willing to press in at length, fall upon God with force, calling Heaven down. It is a shame really because a world of adventure and intimate fellowship with God awaits!
Off topic slightly, regarding a world of adventure, I would either want to be a spy given special access to overhear wicked plots so I could help expose and defeat their dastardly plans; or, I would want to be an NFL referee. Both are fanciful and ridiculous requests because as a human spy, I would most certainly be found out immediately. And as a referee, its inevitable I would run the wrong way and be flattened like a pancake, knocked unconscious probably on the first play.
Now back on topic… In the sweetness of God knowing my heart for this type of adventure, He “sort of” makes a way… without all the danger for capture, torture, and possible concussions and girlie screams. How? Intercession! Might sound ridiculous; but to the childlike willing to believe, it is true! Intercession can be a world of adventure!
When the LORD first started teaching me about the power of intercession, He revealed some things to myself and a few others like we were spies on assignment. It was 2003; and the Iraqi war was beginning. A man from my church felt like God was asking him to gather people to intercede once a week at 6am for God’s intervention in the war. God wanted sacrificial commitment, hence meeting at 6am. There were 5 of us who joined him. Within the first month of the war, a deck of cards was released by US armed forces that had names and faces of terrorists assigned to each suit and card rank. Saddam Hussein was the “Ace of Spades”. God highlighted Saddam’s card to me; and I remember telling our group God wanted to capture the “Ace of Spades”. So we prayed for it. I remember specifically praying that he be found in a hole. Just 9 months later, he was found cowering in a hole! It was with this announcement that the rush of intercession as adventure became reality for me! God was allowing me to be a spiritual spy!
Since then, the assignments have continued; but focused within the Body of Christ. In similar fashion, He’s made me aware of threats and dangers and has had me praying protection and blessing and sanctification over certain leaders.
Did you know that Billy Graham had an intercessor named Pearle Goode who followed him to as many of his locations as possible and interceded while he preached? Why do you think Anna is mentioned at the birth of Christ? Why was she allowed to hold him, proclaim him, and recognize him immediately? She was a prophetic intercessor in place for his coming, Luke 2:36-38.
When you pursue God given call, you will face spiritual opposition. Read Exodus 17:8-16. It details spiritual war with the divine weapons of worship and intercession in play. Notice verse 16. The LORD will be at war with the Amalekites from generation to generation. It’s continual. God is at war against evil, until all Christ’s enemies become a footstool underneath his feet, Hebrews 1:13.
In Exodus 17 Moses, Aaron, and Hur lifted up hands to God so Joshua and the Israelite army could win. So too we are to hold up hands for those on the battle field. Divine weapons must be in play for victory. Challenge yourself to offer up a prayer when you are listening to Sunday sermons, insist that dead bones would come alive, that in the name of Jesus sleepy Christians would wake up!
Earnest intercession is effective and powerful. I’ve been able to stand back and observe in many instances what God has done in response to praying according to His will for certain leaders. He has revealed plots against them. He has removed threats. He has brought discipline. He has brought messages of encouragement and hope. He has strengthened and sustained them in seasons of trial and weariness. If you are an intercessor, you have these tales to tell (but will keep the details to yourself).
God’s Word says that YOU (Christian) can be just like Elijah, James 5:17-18. If you want it, it is yours to pursue and claim. You must be earnest as Elijah was. Revisit the spiritual exploits and victories of Elijah in 1 Kings 17 to 1 Kings 21 and 2 Kings 1 and 2. God wants more intercessors! Your family needs intercession! Your neighbor needs intercession! Your church leaders need intercession! Your city needs intercession! The upcoming presidential elections need intercession!
Not only is intercession a divine weapon against evil, it is often a cry for God to be merciful. Our God will change his mind and relent on a decision. God changed his mind with King Hezekiah, extending his life by 15 years and upending His own laws of nature (sending the sun backwards in time) as a sign to Hezekiah that he would be healed (2 Kings 20:1-11). Our heartfelt cries for mercy are simple acts bringing divine intervention and healing, 2 Kings 20:5. God even had mercy on King Ahab, notable as the most evil king of Israel. Ahab cried out for mercy, 1 Kings 21:25-29.
What other nation (God’s people) is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him, Deuteronomy 4:7? Intercede for your nation, 2 Chronicles 7:13-16, Psalm 85.
Finally, regarding intercession, do you want to experience the blessing? Here are 2 ways to be blessed by God’s gift, for greater intimacy and Spirit-empowered life:
Last week I mentioned some ways the Spirit speaks and encourages. Prophetic encouragement is a divine weapon of warfare. It speaks life to spirit, not flesh. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:14- The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
Spiritual weapons are mentioned in scripture. They DESTROY strongholds, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. We have our arguments, we have pretensions that are directly opposite of the spirit filled life and thoughts of God. His thoughts are not our thoughts; His ways are not our ways, Isaiah 55:8. Engaging with the promised spiritual weapons is a NECESSITY for the very real battle in our minds and to have minds renewed to his will, Romans 12:2.
People can wrongly assume the armor mentioned in Ephesians 6 are the list of divine weapons. My case would be yes and no. No, because there is a much deeper dive to take within that armor to make it practical. There is ACTION to put it on. Ephesians 6:13 that says "after you have done all"... What is the act of doing all? Those weapons of warfare need to be engaged. I see one clearly offensive weapon (versus defensive fitting) listed in the armor; and it is sword of the Spirit, the WORD of GOD.
How many weapons are dug up from the WORD of GOD? I made a list awhile ago and came up with 42 divine weapons of warfare. Each have clear steps that point to "doing something".
A couple of very powerful ones are singing, fasting, and praying. On Monday night, whoever is willing, even if it is just one person, I will stand with you engaging these weapons. I briefly mentioned it last week and have not done much to announce it otherwise. Please come! See the calendar page! (If you register, I will send you a fasting page, and will fast with you by Sunday, for use if you want to fast the day of the session.)
When the LORD saved me at 28 years old, it was a dramatic experience. But the miracle of that whole situation was not what has sustained me. There is something the Spirit said to me immediately in my point of conversion, something I've seen God continue to transact in me. What He said was, "Yes I still heal, and I will heal you." Notice the "will heal" part. Let me tell you I am NOT even close to who I was and praise God for that! I was not well emotionally, spiritually, mentally, or physically at that time. He has had to put me in my right mind. He has to put you in your right mind. He has had to re-parent me from Heaven. He has to re-parent you. He offers a spirit filled life and mind that you were not born with, nobody is (Romans 8:9-11). And...
Romans 8:5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
During a time in Southern California when He was really pushing me outside of my comfort zone, I remember a friend telling me during prayer something God put on his heart for me. He said something along the lines of, "Worship, sing, and as you sing, what God has for you will be released." That was 13 years ago. If I thought ill of God, I would have given up by now because let me tell you there has been a ton of testing in those years with things stolen and destroyed. Also God has brought many difficult tests and I have to choose, approval of man or God. He has insisted my flesh be crucified. This for Spirit release and promise. It is the same for all. But if we do not give up, our time of release and promise comes! Keep praising! You will experience one obvious outcome. You will have greater intimacy of relationship with God and experience His presence and sustaining life of Christ's Spirit within you. There is nothing better.
Join me on Monday, be encouraged to press in! What was said to me about singing and worshiping also applies to you. It is a spiritual truth and promise He manifests to His people all throughout scripture. Claim that promise! As you worship the King of all and sing at the expense of every other desire, He will release more of Himself to you and lead you on a path you never would have seen. He still opens up the Red Sea when your back is against the wall with the enemy intent on destroying you. He still takes those who believe into promised lands! He still supernaturally delivers! Believe!
This week I had the privilege of doing a small group meditation for a bible fellowship group. We met in the leader's home, doing the prayer session in her living room. It was a great experience doing it in this home setting because it was not rushed; and, since the group already has relationships with one another, they were more open to asking me questions after. Their comments and questions revealed deep levels of internal processing regarding God and prayer.
I created a meditation for them on Psalm 84, which represents a spiritual pilgrimage through valleys of weeping, a cry and longing for more of God. Psalm 84 reveals a longing soul stilled through resting in God's presence, continuing with Him in the journey, and trusting in His divine help.
Before starting the meditation, I set up the context of the scripture and showed them some pictures of what the "court of the Lord", referenced in Psalm 84, may have looked like (either tabernacle or temple). I also brought pictures of the Israeli desert sparrow and of the swallow who attaches her nest to buildings or structures, verse 3. I showed pictures of the Desert Balsam tree that "weeps" sap and grows in the Valley of Baka referenced in verse 6, known as the "valley of weeping". All of these images are doorways into deeper meanings. They are living creatures and places meant to help us express our heart to our living God, verse 2. They put meaning behind longing and a fainting thirst for God, verse 2 . The song writer yearned and fainted for God, knowing God as the only hope for continued strength on a difficult spiritual journey, verses 5-7. There is more that was included; but this gives you a few ideas of the deep richness meant not only to be read; but to be experienced through our imaginations and referenced through personal experience.
By engaging not just our minds; but our 5 senses, God's concrete language comes alive and our hearts are set free to engage easier. God desires this for you in prayer.
When I showed a couple examples of the traveling tabernacle and the temple, I asked if anyone had any comments. One person was surprised by the pictures and always visualized the "court of the Lord" as a place for judgment hearing a serious atmosphere. Yet the Psalm paints a picture where nervous animals like birds are building their nests and laying their eggs close to God's altar. This is not an atmosphere filled with God's angry presence, it is an atmosphere even birds can rest quietly on their eggs and take care of their babies without fear of rebuke. This is God's court we are to see and hear, available through Christ.
At the end one person asked what it meant to ask for prayer in a church setting and what to do. It may seem like people should easily know what to do; but there is a spiritual war happening in sanctuary settings when the Word of God is being preached. We do not always respond to clear instruction and reason because of this very real spiritual war. What is simple becomes clouded and confusing. This person had been wondering about asking for prayer for a long time, but never giving in to the internal prompts to go for prayer. It came out in the discussion and a commitment made to go for prayer. It also allowed everyone to hear why it was very important to follow the internal prompts and get prayer.
Another person shared what she felt the Lord was showing her during services. She needed encouragement and a positive filter to interpret what was burdening her heart. By expressing it and talking it through she felt affirmed and encouraged that the Holy Spirit was talking to her and it was a call to intercede for God's work in the sanctuary.
There was opportunity to pray with a sick family member. I would not have gotten that if I had not been ministering in this home setting. Someone not part of the group needed encouragement and prayer and they got it. God sees and sends tender mercies to those suffering.
Another person shared her connection with the visualization exercises of resting in the nest of the LORD. Recently she discovered a nest in her backyard tree, only able to see the mother bird head popping up from the nest, evidence she was quietly sitting on her eggs, still and abiding. Through her experience she was able to recall the sights, sounds, and memory that the bird was just resting and she needed to do that too! This scripture visualization exercise helped her connect and simply rest in His presence.
Resting, i.e. dwelling (verse 4), in God's court is the call of Psalm 84. To dwell means to abide, sit still, rest, stay, linger. It is a safe haven, a place to be undisturbed and refreshed with living water, verse 6.
God says "ask, seek, knock". I am doing that right now, looking for more opportunities to minister in small group settings. Please click on the buttons above and read more about "Inviting Me In" to your small group setting. I'd be honored to encourage you to linger with God in prayer and to fellowship with you! Take a risk with God, linger longer with him in prayer, draw nearer and know Christ!
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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!