The world and its chaos just keeps coming. The visuals and accounts we hear of the Ukrainian's fleeing and fighting for their lives is overwhelming. Many of us can easily see ourselves in their faces, in their circumstances.
Why is it allowed? Why do the reports get worse? Why does evil prosper?
These are big questions and God knows we have them. But what do we do with them?
This week I was wrestling with how evil is prospering in many different nations, in many different ways. Wicked agendas are being executed with lightning speed. It seems like there is no justice in sight.
These thoughts woke me in the night this week, and I wasted time reading bad reports and fretting, feeling stunted in my prayer language. I finally got back to sleep, and the LORD's whisper met me upon waking. I felt the Spirit prompting me to read and pray Psalm 10. He was there with me through the night, seeing the upset in my heart and directing me to process the righteous anger, confusion, dismay, and burden through His word.
It brought great relief.
I found great comfort in expressing my grief and upset through the words of King David. It gave me words for feelings and thoughts I am having trouble transforming into prayer. Sometimes the lyrics (verses) penned by the psalmists are much more intense than what I would ever give myself permission to pray or think had I not read them first expressed in God's Word. It really helps me to see the hearts of ancient believers and connect with them through their feelings and thoughts... all inspired by the Holy Spirit, 2 Timothy 3:16.
Try it right now. See if it helps you connect with suppressed feeling and thoughts that make it hard to pray and express yourself. Talk to God through His word using Psalm 10:
“Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide in times of trouble? The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord. The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. His ways are always prospering; Your judgments are far above, out of his sight; As for all his enemies, he sneers at them. He has said in his heart, “I shall not be moved; I shall never be in adversity.” His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is trouble and iniquity. He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the secret places he murders the innocent; His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless. He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; He lies in wait to catch the poor; He catches the poor when he draws him into his net. So he crouches, he lies low, That the helpless may fall by his strength. He has said in his heart, “God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see.” Arise, O Lord! O God, lift up Your hand! Do not forget the humble. Why do the wicked renounce God? He has said in his heart, “You will not require an account.” But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, To repay it by Your hand. The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and the evil man; Seek out his wickedness until You find none. The Lord is King forever and ever; The nations have perished out of His land. Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, That the man of the earth may oppress no more.”
Psalms 10:1-18 NKJV
How did it feel to pour your upset through the sentiment of King David? Did it help you?
HIs Word is manna to our soul in so many ways! His word is great inspiration for our prayer closets!
Here are some other Psalms you could use to pray regarding upset against evil agenda and wicked schemes-
Use those psalms to unburden with God. He will transform your upsetting feelings and thoughts in His presence. Ask Him to still and calm you. Release outcomes to Him.
"Vengeance is mine", says the LORD. We can rest assured that He WILL have the final word on evil. Believing this, we are to rest in Him, waiting patiently (expectantly, with hope).
Believe that God is taking what the enemy means for evil and turning to good even as we speak. Revival in the hearts of men and women persecuted in Ukraine, revival in my heart and yours. Believe. Press in and rest. He is in control!
And finally, if you'd like try some interactive podcast exercises to process with God and press in for His comforts, check us out on Apple podcasts here. Or you can find Peace Be Still Daily Prayer Download on your app provider! Blessings!
Our Savior felt strong feelings at the tomb of Lazarus. Let’s enter the scene and meditate upon the what and why of those feelings.
In the beginning of Jesus’ ministry he tells some curious disciples, “Come and see", John 1:39. This in response to their inquiry of where he was staying. Really, they wanted to spend more time with Him believing He could be the promised Messiah. He invites them nearer, “Come and see”. This begins a 3 year journey for them to follow and see Jesus reveal His true nature as the Son of God.
In those 3 years, Jesus teaches with great authority and performs awesome signs and wonders. For just a few examples, we know he exorcises demons, restores limbs, cures leprosy, opens the eyes of the blind, heals the deaf and mute, stills the seas to a whisper, walks on water, multiplies loaves and fishes twice for the multitudes, raises the dead. He did these things as proof for His claim as the Messiah and to lead His people to believe in Him. Jesus labored intently for people to believe that He was the Resurrection and the life.
Fast forward to the end of His walk. Let's look at Lazarus’ death, it’s near the end Christ's time on earth. We learn in John 11:4-15 Jesus purposely delays going to Lazarus, telling his disciples 3 different ways that Lazarus would not sleep in death. He would go and wake him up that they may believe.
As he draws near to Bethany, Jesus is met by Martha who tells him, “if you had just been here, my brother wouldn’t have died”. He challenges her that whoever believes in Him will never die, asking her “do you believe this?” Then He goes no further, instead telling Martha to fetch Mary. She comes to him and says the same thing, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus looks around and sees Jews who came along with her. They are all weeping. Here scripture records that Jesus is deeply moved and troubled.
If you look deeper, you see these words mean that he groaned with indignation within, a deep sigh against them, a charge of admonition against their unbelief. He didn't voice it, He contained it.
He’s about to go to the cross. His time is almost up. He loves them deeply, yet here they are still trapped in unbelief and this distresses him greatly.
John 11:35- Jesus wept.
They incorrectly think his weeping is a sign of how much he loved Lazarus. Yes He loved Lazarus deeply, but what's really going on in this account is that He was distressed by their unbelief.
And even as He wept, the blame kept coming. "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Think about Jesus having to hear their snide remarks at the point. He is about to suffer an inhumane death, to be abandoned by everyone. And still they do not believe, despite all they've witnessed of His inexplicable power.
Think on that. Consider the feelings and distress of Jesus here.
John 11:38 records that once again Jesus is deeply moved, i.e. with indignation, as he came to the tomb of Lazarus.
Consider his feelings again as He is deeply moved a 2nd time. Do you wonder if he was perhaps having flashes of his own impending death coming into his thoughts as He sees Lazarus' tomb?
He tells them to roll the stone away. Martha argues against it, reminding Jesus it has been 4 days since Lazarus died and there will now be a bad odor.
He challenges Martha again, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
As they take away the stone Jesus prays, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
He calls Lazarus out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man comes out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Can you see this scene in your mind's eye? Can you see Mary and Martha, the unbelieving crowd, the mourners watching Lazarus walk out of the tomb wrapped in grave clothes? Can you imagine their amazement as they unwrap him? As he takes his first breath of fresh air? The amazement? The rejoicing? The wonder? The laughter?
How many of them do you think felt deep conviction that their unbelief had limited their ability to see Jesus for who He was? It limited them, but it didn’t limit Jesus.
This is the mercy in this passage. Their unbelief didn’t limit what Jesus was willing to do and had planned to do all along. At this point with him, they were being tested by their Savior.
He will do the same with us. He will bring us to the brink of our belief. Consider:
He will be merciful to help you!
I pray that by faith, you pray bigger prayers for His glory to be revealed in inexplicable ways! He does not change! He is still a God of signs, miracles, and wonders!
If you want to listen to the audio version of this devotional, listen to today's Peace Be Still Daily Prayer Download episode-https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/470-tranquil-tues-meditate-on-the-feelings-of-jesus/id1506101286?i=1000550460960
💥Here is the best planning advice anyone could give you. You aren’t meant to lead. Some will take that with offense, but others will feel the relief it is meant to bring! ...YOU AREN'T MEANT TO LEAD.
You are meant to be led, by someone, partnered with Someone who carries the burden. There is an easy yoke involved...
Today being Tranquil Tues in Peace Be Still's podcast, we use an image from scripture to spend time in His presence.
Our image today comes from Matthew 11:28-30. Many of you may know these verses by heart. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
These are words of Jesus. A yoke was a common reference to people in the 1st century. Their economy was largely based upon agricultural trade. The land had to be worked and prepared for the seed. Heavy cargo also needed to be carried into the marketplace. So oxen and other burden bearing animals were paired together with a wooden beam to labor together. The wooden beam joining the animals is the yoke.
This is the visual Jesus wants us to reflect on when he says, “take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
This makes sense when you consider how the animals were paired up. Seasoned and strong burden bearers were paired with less experienced, weaker laborers. The weight of the yoke was mostly carried by the stronger among the two, therefore easing the burden of the weaker, coaching and leading the way.
Jesus is obviously revealing Himself as the strong One who bears the burden for you. He is sooooooooooooo much stronger than you. He will faithfully lead and guide you!
This is revelation for soul rest. You aren't to go it alone. Jesus is telling us we are to pair up, to partner with Him. This is inspiration for today's visual. Jesus is telling us He will bear the burden of our souls. He is telling us to come to Him and learn from Him. He’ll shift the weight on to himself and carry it for you. He is gentle and humble in heart, leading you to rest.
"Father, thank you for Jesus, our burden bearer. Thank you for sending us a gentle Shepherd to lead and guide us to rest. Jesus, we look to you to teach us your ways. Lord help us let go of striving. Holy Spirit help this one see any area of their life where they are laboring and burdened, going it alone. Shift the weight Holy One, carrying it for us so that our soul may rest. Amen."
What are you attempting to carry in your own power? See yourself setting it down, walking away from it.
In your mind’s eye, come near to Jesus.
See that He is welcoming you, His gentle ways encouraging you closer.
What does it look like to collapse near him, completely letting go? Feel the relief of letting everything go...
(to complete this visualization, listen to today's exercise found here.
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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.
Over the last many months I have started doing some prayer coaching. These are prayer appointments I set with people I know or who are personally referred to me.
During these sessions, the Spirit of God impresses things upon me, and often times they are words of affirmation and words of knowledge. The Spirit speaks and reveals things for the purpose of setting people free and deeper levels of healing. He does it in a way that honors privacy and deepens their trust in His perfect knowledge of them. So during a recent session, He revealed the person receiving prayer had misperceptions about God as Father.
The first 15 to 20 minutes of a session includes talking about what is burdening, so I have an idea of how to begin in prayer and what to cover in prayer. What's interesting is the LORD often takes the time in a direction that reveals a root issue that was either not mentioned in the beginning or something the person was not aware of. During the time of intercession, the LORD brought a word to my mind, which I didn’t understand, so I shared it, and it led to this confession coming out, “Nothing’s happening because I’m being punished.” It shocked her that she said it, realizing right after that she didn’t know she believed her life frustrations were because she thought God was punishing her. It was truly a moment of revelation for her!
But you see, God saw that in her, and reached in during our session, and drew it out through giving a Spirit led word for us to talk about. This then it steered her heart to make an honest confession that was a unspoken belief causing her lots of distress. It was the answer to her prayer request, to understand why she just recently started struggling with feeling lost, anxious, and carrying a gnawing and continual undercurrent of anxiety. After God spoke what He spoke, it all made sense to her!
This is a critical example of why we are not to search ourselves. When we do it, leads to burden and lies. This is why we come into God’s presence and ask for his insight.
Proverbs 20:5- The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.
The things brewing within us are indeed deep and dark waters. We aren't to plumb the depths. It overwhelms us. Instead, we are to turn to the One who has insight, the One who knows our thoughts (1 Chronicles 28:9). The Spirit of Christ has insight because the Father knows the mind of the Spirit and intercedes for us according to His will. He reveals and is Wonderful Counselor, Isaiah 9:6.
When he does the searching, it leads to breakthrough and peace. In the prayer appointments God often goes further with people, to reveal root issues. In the session I'm referencing today, God went further to show his little one that her self-talk was a form of self-torture, taking herself through endless questions. “What am I doing wrong?” “What have I missed?” “What do I need to do?” “I must not be getting something.” “I must be missing what God is saying.”
This type of continual self-talk is creating confusion, fueling a feeling of being lost, creating a continual undercurrent of anxiety, and exhausting her. But God was present to call it out and speak tenderly to her in terms to validate her as his child, invite her closer, remind her to enjoy his presence, deepen in trust, and use the season of waiting to prepare for His timing of promotion!
Jesus too had to wait on God’s perfect timing. He had a season of waiting. The Son of God was not released into ministry until 30 years old. Think about the fact that He was not BAPTIZED with the Spirit until he was baptized by John, Mark 1:9-11.
Certainly prior to this, He carried the Spirit (Luke 1:35), but there was a BAPTISM of the Spirit to drive Him forward in greater power from then on. We are told in the moment of his baptism, the Heavens opened; the Spirit descended upon him; and the Father affirmed him, “You are my beloved Son, in you I am well pleased.” Immediately after this, the Spirit drove him into the wilderness to face and overcome temptation, Mark 1:12.
The Spirit is also to drive you. He is your power to overcome all forces against you and reveal the life of Christ through you.
John's baptism was unto repentance, but Jesus came to baptize you with the Holy Spirit, Mark 1:8.
Romans 8:16 tells us the Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. Through the Spirit of God in you, HE TESTIFIES TO YOU. He leads you to life and peace, not confusion and disorder and death. The Spirit is the voice who speaks the words of the Father to your spirit to affirm you. Do you hear God in this way, or are you torturing yourself with endless questions and thinking God is punishing you? If you have never had affirmation within that you are a child of God, that is a red flag for an area of healing desperately needed.
Have you been baptized? At the end of the Gospel of Mark Jesus says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
Remember, Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit. This is not a religious requirement of water baptism. It is a spirit requirement poured out upon those who profess the name of Jesus, Acts 1:8. Today, I invite you to meditate upon Jesus’ baptism and let it uncover longing. Do you want more? Do you want greater revelation, encounter, a closer walk with God?
Be bold! By faith, ask for more of the Spirit! By faith, ask for baptism! Don't reason it through!
I was already filled with the Spirit, but a time came where God challenged me to ask for more! Read that blog HERE- ARE BELIEVERS FILLED MORE THAN ONCE?
"God, with help from the Holy Spirit, help this one envision the moment of Jesus' baptism. Give them eyes to see the Heavens open, give them sight to see the Spirit descend on Jesus. Give them ears to hear the Father’s words of affirmation speaking from Heaven, "You are my Son, with you I am well-pleased" Stir them within to long for Spirit-filled encounter. What are they longing for? What thoughts and unspoken beliefs block the work of the Spirit in them? Lord, you have perfect insight to what is happening within them. God show them what is blocking their freedom, preventing deeper healing, and standing in the way of joy filled time with you. Baptize them afresh with power from on high. Move in them to ask for more of the Spirit! ASK FOR MORE OF THE SPIRIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amen!
Click above for episode in pic. And read below for another meditation of "Is Jesus first?"
We are creatures of habit. We tend to do things as we always have when it comes to managing our emotions and thoughts, time and energies.
When it comes to our emotions and thoughts, we over-process. We stew. We worry. We fret. We say "nothing's wrong". We push it down. We pursue distraction so we don't have to feel or think. We over-extend ourselves to placate, please, and attempt to influence others for the reactions we hope for.
It's all so exhausting.
We argue. We defend ourselves. We take the bait and respond to the offense.
We believe the lies of others who are manipulating us to get what they want.
We stay in strongholds because it is known territory. We feel comfortable there. Doing something new, radically changing our behavior, having godly boundaries, speaking the truth in love, letting others be upset with us, prioritizing God over all others would be a radical move for many.
And so we stay bound.
When it comes to our time and energies, we say "yes" when we should say "no". We give priority to others over time with God. We enmesh ourselves into the ways of the world, preferring entertainment and physical activity and catering to our families over God.
Ask yourself. Am I willing to forsake all others for the cost of following Christ? Are we willing to face the cost?
Luke 14:26- “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.
Are you willing to take on the disappoint of others who are pressuring you to comply with their demands and expectations? Are you willing to say,
"You know what? I have not spent a day with Jesus in a while; and I really think that I need to take that time today."
"I'm sorry I can't take you to that game, I need to spend time reading God's word this weekend."
"I'm sorry I can't rush over and do that thing you are asking me to do, I'm giving that time to Jesus today."
"I need you to figure out dinner for the next couple of nights because I'm fasting and taking that time to draw near to God."
"I can't watch this because it does not honor God."
"I want to go back to church even though I've gotten used to worshipping at home. I need to not forsake gathering with the other believers.”
"Even though I don’t see how it will work, I will give God the first fruits of my finances. He shall provide."
"I'm not going to go for that run Saturday, I'm going to spend time with Jesus."
"I'm not going to call my friend and process this relationship to death one more time. I'm going to take it to Jesus."
"I'm not going to burn hours fretting and worrying. I'm going to believe in God's promises and persist in prayer."
"I'm not going to allow you to talk this way to me any more and guilt me into submission. When you are ready to stop blaming and shaming, we can be in relationship again. Until then, I will pray for you."
"I can't listen anymore to the bitterness you feel towards "x". When you are ready to pray about it and bring all that upset to God in prayer, let me know. I will be there for you."
Are these statement, part of your regular language? Let it give you pause.
If not, God has freedom and power for you who want to start speaking in these ways! He will defend you. He wants to empower you and set you free, to not be dominated by your flesh or by the ways of others. Get out of the rut, ask for Him to redeem your ways! To break strongholds! To fill you with His life and power! Mourn over your ways that put God last, that gives Him little.
Really consider... What steps do you need to take to put Christ first? The questions aren't meant to guilt you into anything. Jesus wants you to make Him priority as an expression of love you feel towards Him, in response to how good and merciful He has been to you! Love and obedience are not mutually exclusive. One requires the other.
John 14:15-18 “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
He will come to you. Pray something along these lines, for whatever applies...
"I miss you Jesus. I want more time with you. I want to know You better. I see how good you have been to me. I realize I am too self-consumed and I don't like that. I want you to change me. I need help with resolving relational conflict. I have bitter responses towards others and I need to confess that. I allow others to control me; and I don't know how to give a godly response. I believe your promises are true. Impress upon my heart a promise you want me to memorize. I believe in you, help me deepen in belief and trust. I don't know your Word well enough. Forgive me for pursuing lesser things. I want to know you better so I can hear your voice more clearly. I can't remember the last time I really experienced your presence and I want to pursue you. Help me intercede for my loved ones and be watchful in prayer because you have asked me to do that."
(Note: To intercede for a loved one(s), click pic above for an interactive exercise of breath prayer intercession.)
In closing, I encourage you to read Revelation chapters 2 and 3 for what the Spirit of the LORD says to the churches. What church are you in? Let it move you to an urgency to cry out for awakening, revival, and purifying work of the Spirit in you, your family, your church, and community. We need to be the virgins filled with oil in these times.
Matthew 16:2-3- 2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
Simple moments. Around a table. Texting with a friend. As you put your child to bed. While meeting up for coffee. While on a date. At a check out. While waiting for a meeting to start...
"Let me tell you about what God did for me today.."
Psalm 66:16 says- Come and hear, all you who fear God, let me tell you what He has done for me.
We are to invite others to HEAR what God has done for us. Notice the psalmist calls those who fear God to listen. Often those who don’t fear Him won’t listen. But as we share amongst those willing to "come and hear", we encourage each other. We strengthen ourselves in the wait. We realize we are not alone. We influence our little ones and the next generation to love and honor God. And this is a worshipful act. We can do it around others not willing to listen, but are within earshot. It will perhaps invite questions and curiosity, releasing the power of God through our confession. It encourages other people to consider the promises of God. He helps us to love one another and Him in deeper ways. He wants us to celebrate Him together, to gather and give thanks and praise!
When is the last time you said to someone, “Listen to what God has done, or just did for me…”? It can be as simple as saying, “I really have to share that God got me through this day. I woke up fearful, but I admitted that to Him first thing, and then had a strength not my own for the rest of the day.. He heard my prayer and helped me.” As we make these simple confessions to each other on how we rely on Him in the finite moments and troubles of our lives, we worship Him. We spread good news, encourage the saints, and glorify His name.
Today, who is someone who fears God that you can tell them what God has done for you?
“Come and hear, all you who fear God, let me tell you what He has done for me.”- Psalm 66:16
If you want to go further in this form of worship, listen in to Wednesday 8/11/21's podcast for this exercise of worship of "Come and hear". You will take the instrumental time to tell Him...
And then take the simple action before you lay your head down tonight, to tell someone else what God has done for you. Let’s practice it. Let’s make it a habit of encouraging each other in these ways and so worship Him to the glory of His Name! "Come and hear all God has done for me!"
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Prayer is Gift!
Hi my name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 25 year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and praying for His life in greater measure!