Christian growth · fellowship with God

Let’s Advance!

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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.

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Men joined the ladies for this choir special, but the congregation was all women.

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:

  1. Bible preaching in general sessions
  2. Biblical teaching in Break-out sessions
  3. Times of corporate prayer
  4. 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!

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This was after the last session, and I can say, we did indeed Triumph! We were all clean and right with God and it was wonderful!

 

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.

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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!

Denise Signature 150 px

 

Christian Life · fellowship with God · joy

Sing Your Song

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Years ago one of my girls sent me a text message from their college dorm room. It read –

“I’m so ready to be done with dorm life! Someone is singing at the top of their lungs in the shower!”

Not everyone is a morning person who can sing first thing in the morning. Though I’d consider myself a morning person, I need about an hour of quiet before I’m ready for sounds above a whisper. However, whoever the girl in the shower was, she had a song in her heart first thing in the morning!

Proverbs 29:6 says,

“In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare:
but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.” 

The implication of that verse is that if there is sin in our hearts we will lose our song. Because we’re caught in the snare of our transgression, there’s no reason to rejoice. Is there a song in your heart at this moment? Do people irritate you quickly? Is there a nagging restlessness within you? I’m not asking if you’re a morning person, I’m talking about the majority of the day – are you singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord?

Obviously if a person hasn’t asked Christ to be their Savior, there’s still a void in their life and there’s no song. But if you’re God’s child because you’ve received Christ, there should be singing and rejoicing. Even in the midst of trials the song is there. It’s quiet, but it’s there.

If you’re song is gone, look for the reason. Sin is probably at the door. Confess it. Call it what God calls it. Don’t smooth it over. God knows what it is, so name it.

Was it worry?
Criticism?
Lying?

Repent of it and know the joy that comes from having it out of your heart, and then replaced by the sweet song of the redeemed!

Sing your song…but if it’s early, you might want to sing it softly. 🙂

Christian Life · fellowship with God · forgiveness

The Danger of Drifting

Rafts aren’t the only thing that can drift – so can a boat. I came across this article in People Magazine . You won’t believe the terror two teenage boys experienced when their boat drifted. Read on:
On Sunday morning, April 24, Troy Driscoll, 15, and his best friend, Josh Long, 17, both high school students from North Charleston, S.C., paddled out from Sullivans Island near their home for a day of fishing in a 15-ft. boat. Had they listened to the radio, they would have heard that bad weather was approaching.
Josh Long – We wanted to put the boat between the beach and a sand bar, but we weren’t out 20 minutes when the riptide pulled us out. We tried to put the anchor down, but it wouldn’t catch. We just drifted farther and farther away. Hours went by. We tried to wave people down, but nobody saw us. The last thing I saw was the towers on shore that lead cargo ships in. By dark we couldn’t see a thing. The next morning there was no land in sight. All we could do was pray.
By 10 p.m., when the boys—who left Josh’s cell phone in his truck at a dock and had no radio or emergency equipment—hadn’t returned, their frantic parents called the Coast Guard.

Eddie Long, Josh’s father – It was the hardest night of my life, walking that beach, knowing that my son and Troy were out there somewhere. It was cold, and the waves picked up.
Josh – We were soaking wet, clinging to each other, trying to keep warm. We’d doze off, but the waves kept crashing into the boat, washing over us, so we couldn’t ever get to sleep.

Troy Driscoll – During the day it got so hot, we took a couple of dips to cool off. But then the sharks came around, and we didn’t go in the water anymore.
Josh – Far from shore, the water turns clear, like blue Gatorade. Troy begged me, “Please, let me drink just a little.” I said, “If you drink it, you’ll die.” Then one day it began to drizzle. I had my mouth wide open to catch drops, but it didn’t rain hard enough. I started licking the water from the deck.
Troy – Josh woke up screaming that we were at the store and had to buy some Mountain Dew. I was like, “Bro, we’re out in the middle of the water, and there’s no Mountain Dew.” I was so hungry I ate a jellyfish and waited overnight to see if it would kill me. It didn’t. They’re slimy, gushy things, but I ate about 100 of them.
Josh – Troy was so hungry he wanted to cut off a finger and eat it. At one point, he said, “Please, help me get out of here or kill me.” I said, “I can’t do that.”
The Coast Guard searched the ocean using boats, helicopters, airplanes and the help of recreational boaters. But at sunset on Tuesday, April 26, after 2½ days had passed with no sign of the boys, the rescue mission became a recovery operation.
Eddie Long – They told us that in a week to 10 days, the bodies would become gaseous and rise to the surface. I went out on the bridge with binoculars, but I didn’t go out on a boat. If there was a body, I didn’t want to remember my son that way. By Saturday, April 30, seven days after they set out, the boys were drifting seven miles off Cape Fear and 111 miles from where they had launched.

Josh – Something about Saturday morning was different. When the sun came up, it was a beautiful color. I saw a rainbow off to the left, and there were dolphins playing all around the boat. Later that day two fishermen spotted something distant in the water.

Ben Degutis, 70 – At first, I didn’t know what it was. As we got closer, I could see people waving, and holy mackerel, it was two young guys in this tiny boat. One was yelling, “Thank God!”
Eddie Long – I was outside and heard a commotion. They gave me the phone, and Josh said, “I miss you, Daddy.”
Tony Driscoll, Troy’s dad – When I finally saw Troy, it was like him being born all over again. The joy in my heart was that huge.

During their ordeal Long lost 30 lbs. and Driscoll was hospitalized for three days for second-degree burns on his face and feet.
Driscoll – I’ll go out again fishing, for sure—in a boat with two motors.

Long – While we were out there we dreamed about the biggest sundae you could imagine—the ultimate sundae. Troy and I are going to meet at an ice cream place and have that sundae.
Boats aren’t the only thing that can drift – so can people. In my years as a believer and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, I have seen many people do the very same thing in their spiritual lives that Troy and Josh did in their boat. Out of a love for God, believers get in their boat and go to church, serve the Lord, have their daily devotions, testify in prayer meeting, share the Gospel with an unbeliever, and attend Bible study. Everything is okay – they are safe near the shore with anchor firmly in place.
Then one day, ignoring the warnings they’ve heard, they begin to drift – they miss a service here and there. Then Bible study or prayer meeting seems like a huge interruption in their already busy week, so they stop attending. They begin to eat things they would never have thought of eating – slimy television shows that promote immorality, homosexuality, drinking, and many other unbiblical “jellyfish.” Things that are harmful look appealing and they begin to “drink” of its waters, all the while the sharks are circling their boat. Like the saltwater, bitterness may be a poison they drink. One sip of unforgiveness keeps them coming back for more. They have now drifted to Cape Fear!
Praise the Lord, though, the Holy Spirit sees them in their drifted state, and He sends believers who care to fish near enough to their drifted place to spot them. They don’t leave them there – they come to them with a warm coat (God’s love), nourishing food (the Word of God), and balm for their wounds (forgiveness of our God).  I John 1:9 is claimed and obeyed. Soon, they’re feeling better, feet planted solidly on the ground with the wisdom to keep anchor so they’ll drift no more.
Not everyone who drifts out in the ocean is rescued. It’s not that the Lord isn’t showing them the Light from the lighthouse, but because they are unwilling to admit that they are indeed drifting. If this post has offended you, let me say, dear Friend, it’s probably because you are drifting. “Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165

 

Drifting takes place a little at a time. If you can still detect the shoreline, row back home before you find yourself in dangerous waters. There’s a huge Sunday to enjoy with others who will rejoice at your tender heart and your safe return!

Isaiah 43:1,2 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Because I care,