Ladies’ Retreat Blessings

The ladies’ retreat that we held at our church this past weekend was such a blessing. My prayer had been that the Lord would allow it not to be successful, but significant. My desire was that we leave the retreat on Saturday changed, have new tools for our walk with the Lord, and be better equipped to serve Him. Of course we had planned much fun and fellowship in the weekend as well. Here are some pictures of the weekend and some of the memories that I’ll take from the retreat.

Our theme was, The human heart is dark without Christ, but what a difference Jesus makes! This was the beginning of the evening as I welcomed the ladies.

One fun thing was the giving away of special gifts. There were about 15 ladies that went home with a lovely gift that tied into our theme. I heard that there was even some friendly bribing that went along with it…that’s how desirable those gifts were!
One highlight of Friday night was “Fun time” put on by three men in our church – two of them on full-time staff (scary!). They made us laugh with their antics, stories and surprises. Here’s Pastor Steve telling us why men aren’t depressed. “No strap problems in public, one suitcase for a week’s vacation, one wallet, one color for all seasons…” Very funny, and very true!

Here was one of the surprises. My husband (that’s him in the overalls! Ahhh!) sang me a love song with our daughter, Allison, accompanying him on her guitar. “If my nose were running money, Honey, I’d blow it all on you!” Does that touch your heart? I think you can tell by the expression on my face the effect it had on me!

Here are Pastor C. and Pastor Steve doing a skit “in a fast sports car with Cooter, the dog running alongside.” Don’t you love the foot wear?

Brad Higgins joined our pastors on the stage coach ride of their lives…all for .25!

The last song by the men, sung to the tune of Rocky Top, described how “well” they were caring for things at home while their wives were away at the retreat. Trust me, every woman had reason to worry about things on the home front after they finished!
We had an ice cream break with seven different flavors of Blue Bell ice cream being offered! Sweet treat and sweet fellowship! The men in our church served us all weekend. What a blessing they were! We didn’t want for a thing – they were always at hand to take good care of us!

After returning back to the auditorium we had the serious part of our service. The special music pointed our thoughts to The Light of the world – Jesus.

Our speaker Friday night was Debbie Duncan. How the Lord used her to give us a sweet challenge with her testimony!

Debbie began her testimony by sharing her love for music. She told us that in music there are rests – times when there is no music. She said, “God puts rests in our lives too. There was a time when there was no music, but God was there.” Debbie shared with us her testimony of losing her husband, Tom five years ago. Tom was out hunting with his son-in-law when he experienced a heart attack and died. Debbie’s life changed in an instant, yet her faith remained strong. She shared that there were many days that she didn’t want to get out of bed, but she did. She trusted her God and what she knew to be true about Him to get her through the difficult days. She shared with us how the Lord had prepared her for this time using His Word and other experiences, such as a ladies’ retreat at The Wilds. Her face radiated the love of her God, as well as the peace that only the Lord can give.
A couple other quotes that I jotted down as she spoke were:
“This day didn’t take God by surprise.”
“We can’t control what comes into our lives, but we can control how we respond to it.”
“I had people tell me to let them know if I had a need, but I just went to my heavenly Father and let Him burden their heart about it.” (This was a sharp reminder to me that I must obey when the Spirit of God nudges my heart to do something for someone else. God may want to use me to be the answer to their prayers!)
Tomorrow I’ll share about Saturday and what the Lord did on the second day of our retreat.


Sunday Dinner

What’s Cookin‘ in the Parsonage?
This was a very busy weekend with the ladies’ retreat at church, so I didn’t go out on a limb for Sunday dinner. We didn’t have to resort to scrambled eggs or sandwiches, however (not that that is a bad thing, it’s just not what we would call “Sunday dinner food”). Here’s the menu:
Barbecued Roasted Chicken
White Rice, served with barbecue drippings from chicken
Corn, tomato, and red onion side dish
Green Salad with apples, craisins and walnuts/Raspberry vinaigrette
Toasted French Bread with Parmesan cheese
Ice Cream
To have the meal ready for when we got home, here are my preparations made before leaving at 9:00.
  1. Put roasting hen into a 9 x 13 dish. Salt and pepper chicken. Spread barbecue sauce on chicken with basting brush. Add about a cup of water to dish. Place in 275 degree oven uncovered.
  2. Measure out rice. Set aside. Measure water for rice in the pan it will be cooked in. Leave on stove ready to boil upon returning home.
  3. Make corn side dish. Pour a can of Niblets white shoe peg corn into a mixing bowl. Add about a cup of diced grape tomatoes and 1/4 cup diced red onion. Add approximately 1/4 cup low-fat Italian dressing. Toss. Cover and refrigerate.
  4. Set table. Then, after returning home after church:
  5. Boil water for rice. Add rice and let set ’til done.
  6. Slice French bread. Butter, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Place under broiler ’til browned.
  7. Slice chicken and place on a platter.
  8. Viola! Dinner is ready!

The Retreat Day has Arrived

Today is our long-awaited Ladies’ Retreat at church. It’s been a busy week finishing up preparations, but I’m so excited to see what the Lord is going to do this weekend; spite whatever it is I’ve forgotten to cover in details!

The church has been lightly decorated. The furniture in the foyer has been rearranged. The resource table has new books ready for purchase. We’ve also added some beautiful journals (only $3!) so someone can pick up a new book to scribe their walk with God. The sanctuary’s platform has been made more feminine so our speakers will feel more comfortable up there. The gym has been set for our Saturday lunch. Each table has hydrangeas as a centerpiece. There are candles everywhere in the church. Since our theme is John 8:12 (When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”) we have lights all through the church to serve as a reminder of our Savior, our Light – the One who makes a difference.

Would you pray for this retreat? Things to pray about:

  • Pray that it will be significant in the lives of those that attend.
  • Pray that the guests that have been invited will attend.
  • Pray that women will be saved as a result of hearing the Gospel.
  • Pray for women that are struggling with issues to get victory by the Truth they hear.
  • Pray for our speakers to be vessels that God will use.
  • Pray that the workshop leaders will know of God’s enablement as they teach their workshop.
  • Pray that Christ will be glorified in all that is done.
  • Pray that we will be changed as a result of this retreat.

If you’re in the area I’ll look forward to seeing you tonight. If you’re elsewhere I wish you could join us! I’ll post pictures of the retreat next week. I can’t wait to share with you what the Lord does!


How to Deal with the Fools in Your Life – #6 Safe In Him!

A young couple rented a vacation cottage for a week. One afternoon the husband looked out a window at the swimming pool and exclaimed, “Let’s change our clothes and go get some exercise!” His wife, who was washing the dishes in the kitchen and looking out the window watching some people play tennis, quickly agreed. While she dressed for a tennis match, he put on his swimming trunks. The window a person chooses to look out at the world often determines the way they respond to their situation.

In the story of Abigail and Nabal that we’ve been studying every Thursday (and most Friday’s) we see that David is looking out the window of revenge. He is set on getting even with Nabal for his unkindness. Abigail, on the other hand, is looking out an entirely different window – she is seeing a sovereign God and has now stepped in to remind David to get the same picture.

In I Samuel 25:26 we hear her speaking humbly, directly and clearly to David. Because he is a man after God’s heart, he stops and listens to her. She says, “Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.” Fourteen times she calls David “my lord.” Six times she refers to herself as “thy handmaid.” She reminds him that God had kept him from doing this evil thing he was set on doing. She wants him to see the situation from God’s point of view. We will always see things correctly when we get the Lord’s perspective!!

We will be a godly friend, employer, spouse or sister if we point others to the Lord if they’re not thinking biblically. I don’t’ know about you, but it’s so much easier to just listen and agree with a person than to listen, realize they’re not thinking biblically and then bring Truth into the picture. It’s really the hard thing, but it’s the right thing, and that’s what we see Abiagail doing with David.

In verse 28 she reminds him that God had made promises that He will bring to pass and that David need not avenge himself. She tells him to stick to God’s battles and not add any of his own.

We see a beautiful word picture in verse 29. It says, “Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD thy God: and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling.” The picture here is that of a traveler who would take their precious belongings and wrap them up and carry them close to their body so they would be safe. For those who know Christ as their Savior, we are bundled up, safe and secure in the sovereign care of our loving God! Abigail reminds David that even though Saul has been chasing after him, he’s secure. Nothing will happen to David that hasn’t first gone through the sovereign hands of an almighty God! That same promise is for you, dear friend, if you’ve trusted in Christ. We don’t have to be afraid of those that can kill the body, but can’t destroy the soul! (Matthew 10:28) Our lives are under the protection of Divine providence.

Abigail must have often run to the security of her God while she dealt with Nabal in this difficult marriage. What peace and refuge He must have brought to her on a daily basis. He longs to do the same for us. We are safe in Him!

In the last part of the verse Abigail tells David that his enemies would be slung out as in the middle of a sling. What a wise woman to use terminology that David could understand. He certainly knew something about slings, didn’t he? She’s reminding him that God will judge the evil doers. He will tolerate them for a time, and then they will be judged. Those who have been the enemies of God will be dealt with. This is a warning to us not to become a Nabal, or we can be sure God will have to deal with us. We don’t know when, but we do know in God’s way and in God’s time He will sling out; He will destroy all those evil doers.

In the meantime, those who are in Christ are safe, bound in the care of the Lord our God!


Where Is Your Heart?

I enjoy reading missionary stories. I recently read about David Livingstone – the great missionary to Africa. When David died, his body was buried in his birthplace – England. His heart, however, was buried in the place he loved the most – Africa. The natives dug a hole at the foot of a tall tree in a small African village and buried his heart there.

This raises a good question: If your heart was buried in the place you loved the most during life, where would it be? At the office? At the bank? In your “quiet place” where you study God’s Word? Where is your heart?

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

The New Dating Era

I’m seeing a trend that is spreading over the young people in our country. Over the last several years I’ve watched the dating scenario change in a huge way. I’m sure there are many reasons for the change, but it concerns me. Let me explain.

Years ago young couples met, got interested in one another, went out on a date, which led to another date and another. Soon their engagement was announced, and perhaps within the span of a year or a little more they were married. Often they were either just out of high school or college. Were times hard? You better believe it. Did they have lots of money saved, a great career under their belt and a house to move into? Hardly! But they worked through those issues together by praying to the God that brought them into this bond of marriage. The result was a deepened faith in God’s provision for them and a strengthening of their relationship.

I read an article yesterday that said, “Many young adults today view their 20s as a time for fun, travel, career-building or finding themselves — not for settling down.” The article said that the median age for men to marry is 28 and in girls it’s 26. This is the change I’m referring to. I think it also falls into the very selfish mindset of our society. A willingness to give up their lifestyle for someone else would require sacrifice; something that many aren’t willing to do.

I’m certainly not suggesting that a couple rush into marriage, but if a couple believes that God has brought them together, they’ve had sufficient time to get to know one another, then why put marriage off? With the proper premarital counseling they will have the tools they need to trust the Lord for their finances and their futures.

I also feel for many godly young ladies who would love to date someone and eventually marry, but the young men have the “This is my time” mindset and put off dating, much less getting serious. Marriage is a wonderful blessing. While it isn’t God’s will for all to marry, the majority will. Why put it off? Perhaps young people have seen divorce in their homes and are afraid. Again, though, trusting the Lord who brings a couple together is what brings a couple through many hardships, be it relational or financial.

One of mine and my husband’s favorite memories of our early years is one that found us with a mere 56 cents in our checking account! Our first daughter was about 9 months old and we had no groceries, and obviously no money to go purchase any. We determined to tell no one but the Lord. We prayed. He prayed. I prayed. I specifically asked the Lord to provide the infant cereal that the pediatrician put our infant daughter on – Gerber oatmeal. I believe it was the very next evening after being gone from home, we pulled into our car port to find three sacks of groceries stacked their by an anonymous giver. One item in the sack was the box of Gerber cereal! Many times after that when there was a need, all we had to do was recall God’s faithfulness in providing for our needs at that time to reinforce our faith that He would do it again!

My encouragement to young women is to ask the Lord to do the bringing together of you and your future husband. He did it for Eve. He did it for Rebekah. I can testify that He did it for me, and He can do it for you. Date the guy. Get to know him well, then if you both believe this is God’s will trust Him for your marriage. I’m not suggesting you marry in high school, or too quickly, but I am encouraging couples to move on! Listen to God’s leading, to the counsel of your parents and pastor. Then “what God has brought together let no man put asunder!”


I’m thinking about adding a Monday post called, “What’s cookin’ in the parsonage?” I’ve had people ask me how a person can get a Sunday dinner ready so it can be on the table shortly after getting home from church. In an attempt to help, the post will include the menu and the preparations made beforehand.

I’m writing this today to see if there is an interest in this particular topic. Could you let me know if you’d benefit from a post like this? I’d appreciate your input. Thanks!