I’ve recently shared on my blog that my church hosts a Ladies’ “retreat” of sorts every other year. I called it a “Refresher” because that’s what I was praying it would be in our lives. Just last weekend we enjoyed that great refreshment in so many ways! I thought you might enjoy getting a peek into our time together!
“Just because the path you’re on is bumpy
doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong road.”
I read that quote yesterday and thought of a hike my family once took. We headed up a mountain road that started out kind of gravely. As we continued upward the road bumped more and more. We were looking for the fire tower and were unsure of its exact location. At times the road bumped so much I thought our van’s shocks would never be the same. We climbed and climbed and bumped and jostled our way up the mountain.
The question of whether or not we were on the right road was asked more than once. We finally came to a blocked road where we parked the car and got out and walked a mile or more up a rather steep incline. There ahead of us was the fire tower! We climbed up the forsaken steps and when we got to the second and third landings the view was spectacular! It was worth all the bouncing and jolting just to see the sight before us! We indeed had been on the right road. If the bumps had discouraged us and we would’ve turned around, we would have missed this sight!
Life gets bumpy, doesn’t it? We begin to question ourselves. We also question God.
“Is the Christian life supposed to be this way? Shouldn’t things be much smoother than this? Is my marriage supposed to have this jostling? Why are my children creating such havoc after all my godly instruction?”
The temptation is to turn around and go the other way – our own way – a way we feel would be smoother. But the absence of bumps doesn’t mean it’s right.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. I Peter 5:10
The road will smooth out eventually and you’ll find the view is wonderful – it’s called Christ-likeness. Because He is the God of all grace, you and I have the grace we need to endure the bumps. Don’t doubt you’ve chosen the right road (“why did I trust Christ, anyway? He’s a mean God that’s out to get me.”) Keep traveling on. He’s there with you. He’s not forsaken you. He knows the bumps are there and He’s waiting at the end of the road. Keep on driving. It will be worth the view!
Last weekend I had the blessing of attending The Ladies’ Prayer Advance in Roanoke, Virginia. This event is like a “ladies’ retreat” in that it is a weekend away. However, it’s called an Advance because the whole purpose is to encourage women to move forward in their walk with God.
Sometimes we need a couple of days to rest, move slowly as we talk to God and spend time alone with Him, but then there are other times when we need someone to put their hand in the middle of our back, so to speak, and help us move closer to God through:
- Bible preaching in general sessions
- Biblical teaching in Break-out sessions
- Times of corporate prayer
- Times of individual prayer
It is absolutely wonderful. It’s the best kind of tired you can feel! To have heard God’s Word taught or preached seven times in those two and half days is powerful. To spend time alone in prayer is convicting. To pray with your prayer group several times is better than I can even describe. The closeness that it brings is a special blessing that only the Spirit of God could do.
The break-out sessions allow each woman to choose topics that speak to her heart. Abuse, contentment, depression, marriage, unanswered prayer, and overwhelming situations were some of the subjects addressed.
This is an exhausting weekend. There are no shopping adventures. No hours of rest between sessions. No extra activities are planned. Does it sound boring? It’s anything but that! Does this mean we don’t have fun? Hardly. When you get right with God, you also are the happiest and you are also a blessing to those around you! Our group had wonderful, sweet fellowship, laughter, tears and unity. It was precious!
Every year we make it a point to go to a fun place called Elderberry’s for lunch. They have a TON of different wraps and a MILLION different smoothies to choose from.
This year we ended our time at the Ladies’ Prayer Advance by sharing lunch together here before we had one last time of prayer and headed home…completely physically exhausted, but absolutely, wonderfully refreshed spiritually!!
Attending conferences like this is a huge sacrifice of each ladies’ time, but we all need it if we truly desire to advance in our relationship with the Lord. Do you make sure to find a time or two each year to spend away at conferences like this so you can be challenged and renewed spiritually? It’s really helpful if you are longing to advance!
Next year’s Ladies’ Prayer Advance is being held March 21-23 in Roanoke, VA. Perhaps you would consider joining the more than 500 that were there this year? You can find information here.
I will also be attending a Ladies’ Retreat this month in North Carolina at The Wilds. I’m excited about this special weekend as well. You can find information here and can also register on-line. You can’t go to The Wilds and not receive a blessing!!
Take time out to refresh and advance! You’ll be so glad you did!
My husband and I have been arguing again. You know how that goes. It’s over a topic we’ve discussed before – serving one another. The conversation went something like this:
Me – Let me do that for you.
Him – No, I already took care of it, but thank you.
Me – I can never seem to find a way to serve you: you always beat me to it! You do so much more for me than I do you.
Him – Hon, that’s not true! You do so much for me. Goodness, I couldn’t do what I do on a day without you!
No snack before supper or you’ll ruin your appetite.
Most mothers have had to say this to their child at one time or another. A child may feel as though Mom is withholding good food from them, but oh, no! She has stored away all kinds of good things for her family! Plans for good meals are in the near future! She won’t let her family go hungry; she just wants her family to be hungry for the best foods that will help them grow.
Physical food can ruin your appetite for the right things, but have you ever considered that spiritual snacking actually creates an appetite for healthy spiritual eating?
Yesterday I talked about making wise decisions regarding entertainment. We get kind of “hungry” for something good to munch on while we’re working or doing a mindless tasks like getting ready for the day, riding in the car or washing dishes. Just as we don’t stop eating just because we want to eat healthy, we don’t have to stop using media because we want good choices to nourish our minds. Why? Because there ARE good things out there that can feed us well!!
Look what Scripture says –
The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish:
Our loving God knows that we need spiritual food to grow and He will not let us go without what we need. His Word is the answer for every hunger in our soul! He is so good to allow so many avenues today in which we can hear His Word given to us!!
The word SATURATION is my word for 2018. I’ve asked the Lord to help me saturate my heart with Truth from His Word each day. I don’t always win at this but I want to share with you some of the ways that I “snack” on God’s Word most days.
- Audio Bible – Each morning while I’m making the bed, I listen to the Proverb chapter the correlates to the day of the month. In order to keep my ear and heart engaged, I try to finish the verse before the audio speaks it. I don’t have it all memorized, for sure, but I know it well enough that I can finish some of the verses. The Word is getting into me while I straighten up.
- Pod Casts – I have an app on my phone that fills my podcast library with episodes from Revive Our Hearts and Love Worth finding (there are many other preachers on that site as well). The word is getting into me while I’m working at home or traveling in the car.
- CD’s of messages – I often listen again to messages from conferences I’ve attended, via the recorded message on a CD. The truth comes back to my heart and I’m reminded of what the Lord taught me or I catch something I missed the first time! The Word is getting into me while I mop, fold laundry, iron, work on projects or cook.
- Pandora radio – I have several stations on Pandora of music that is a blessing to listen to while I cook or while I have my quiet time in the morning.
- Bible memory – I try to work on new verses or review ones I’ve memorized as I’m getting ready in the morning. I keep my memory verse cards nearby – on the counter or I take them with me in the car so I can keep working on Scripture. Having God’s Word in my heart makes Scripture the most mobile of all apps! It’s always with me!
While the real meat and meals come from my time in God’s Word each morning, these are some of my spiritual snack foods. They’re so wonderful that it truly does make my heart crave for more.
If you haven’t tried these delights, I hope you will, and if you have another suggestion of good spiritual “snacking food,” I would love for you to share that with us!
I hope I’ve made you hungry!
Because we live in the country, we have a home land line at our house. We had it installed because our phone reception can be poor at times, so in the case of an emergency, we wanted to know we can call out. However, whenever that phone rings, we totally ignore it. It’s like it isn’t getting our attention at all. You see, the only ones who call that number are telemarketers. Since we know that, we let the answering machine get the call and we totally ignore the ringing!
Have your prayers that you pray ever felt like our land line? Have you ever called to talk to God, but it seems He is just ignoring your call? We’ve all been there at times. But I think if we understand how to pray effectively and powerfully using His Word as our supplication, we’ll feel like that far less often, and will understand the power of praying Scripture.
There truly is power in praying back God’s Word to Him. If that idea seems strange or you wouldn’t have a clue where to find verses to pray, I hope you’ll watch today’s video as I share how to do both of those things.
I’m also going to share an idea about how to set up a prayer journal for a small child, and then progressively change it so it would fit an older child’s needs.
One resource that I forgot to mention on the video is this book,
I got mine at a conference a few years ago but I found it here on Amazon. I saw a used copy for $1.99! I love this book and use it a lot!!
I’d love to hear how it’s going for you if you’ve begun a prayer journal. Or if you have any other questions, feel free to leave them here in the comments.
This is the last in the series on prayer, but let’s you and I KEEP ON PRAYING!
Sunday afternoon my husband came into the room where I was seated and handed me the Parade Magazine from the Sunday paper.
“Here’s the invention that will answer many church go-er’s prayers!”
It was this…
It’s a WiFi-Enabled Slow Cooker! Now if you’re in church and the preacher is going a little longer than you’d anticipated and the pot roast you put in the crock pot is going to be ruined, you can change the setting or stop the cooking process to ensure you will not be having a burnt sacrifice for Sunday dinner!
“We’re living in the day of the Jetson’s, Hon!” my husband touted as he made his way out of the room.
It’s unbelievable, isn’t it when you think about all the things technology can do?! A camera in the fridge can let me know if I need more milk. Alexa, is ready at our beck and call to turn on the coffee maker, adjust the heat in the house, update us on the weather, or play a game of Twenty Questions! The robotic vacuum keeps the house clean, and any number of apps on our phones can handle every other detail of our lives!
Since I’d had the stomach flu over the weekend, I missed church on Sunday. But again, due to the blessing of technology, I could “sit in” on our live-streamed service via Facebook! I had my Bible, notebook, and cup of hot tea all set while I sat comfortably in a chair in my bedroom. I got to listen to the sermon, and almost felt as though I was right there, except there was one huge piece of the picture that was missing –
all the other members of the Body.
I was alone. I could pray when they prayed, and even say, “amen,” and listen while my husband preached, but
- To whom would I turn afterwards and greet, and ask how I might pray with them?
- What visitor would I meet and welcome there and show them where to find a small group to join?
- How could I notice one who was missing from our normal gathering of members whom I might reach out to and check on this week?
- How could I invite guests to come home and fellowship with us?
- How could I use my spiritual gifts here with just my black and white cat sleeping soundly at my feet?
Technology might bring the church service to me, but technology can never replace the Church. In fact, nothing can. It’s God’s tool in this dispensation for accomplishing His redemptive work!
We miss so much when we’re not there. For many that can’t attend church due to chronic illness, this is a great blessing, and I’m thankful that genius people can provide such a tool for them. But I also know this – When I am able to go, I need to take advantage of it. I need my Church and it needs me.
Technology can never replace my church!
Are you plugged into a local body where you can grow, be discipled, use your gifts, serve, encourage, pray and bless others? If you’re a believer, it’s your blessing to enjoy all that and more!