Christian growth · fellowship with God

Let’s Advance!

LPA 4

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!

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Christian growth · Goals · Saturation

Spiritual Snacking Choices

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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:
Proverbs 10:3

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!

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Christian growth · Encouragement · Saturation

My View…the Flu

wp-1516908747414190317342.jpgAn absolutely wonderful week  took a turn  yesterday  when I got hit with the stomach flu. Today has me staring from my bed at Ginger Ale and crackers sitting on the bedside table.

While it’s not my preference to be sick, I’m striving to fill my heart with God’s Word via the audio Bible app, as well as podcasts of sermons or biblical teaching while I rest. Not because I’m so saintly, but because of the word I’ve chosen for 2018…

SATURATION

We are bombarded on every side with the world and its views and it can make us cynical or even depressed! I’m choosing to SATURATE my heart and life with God’s Truth so I can think, act and respond in a biblical manner instead.  I obviously can’t do that without His Word. So along with my morning study  in God’s Word, I’m using moments throughout the day to put Truth in my heart. I’m reading, listening, memorizing and reviewing. Its been such a blessing!

I’ve heard some great things during the last two days of sickness! It would be great if I could look back on the stomach flu and think on all I learned, instead of just remembering ginger ale and crackers!😏 I believe SATURATION will help!

How are you saturating your heart with Truth today? It’s the only thing that will refresh your heart forever!

Have a great weekend, and stay well!!❤

Denise

 

Christian Life

My Dressing Room

I love outfit posts and I think many other women do too!  But there is one part of dressing that has to come first, and that’s the preparing of our heart for the day before us.  It’s the most important part of my day and I thought I’d share a little glimpse of how I spend that time.

I may add that I often also read a devotional type book and review memory verses that I’m either learning or just keeping fresh in my mind.  What  a rich time this is each day, and oh, what I miss when I hurry past it!

Next week a post is coming that will answer the question, “How do I know what to read in the Bible each day?”

Do you have a Quiet time?  If so, what do you do?  

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Christian growth · Christian Life · trials

Why We Must Be Serious About Spiritual Growth

This week I’ve shared posts about spiritual growth – how it happens and how to aid it’s development, but you may be wondering what the big deal is.  Some women have the thought that when they get older then they’ll work on it then.  Life is too busy right now to think about Bible study, prayer and a close walk with God.  After all, their life is going along pretty good, so what’s the fuss about?  Can I share a few reasons why it’s crucial that you’re a growing follower of Christ?

  1. Christ didn’t just die to save you from hell.  He died to have a relationship with you, and you with Him!  John 15:15 –Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. A believer is truly cheating themselves out on so many blessings when they don’t walk with the Lord each day.  He gives direction, guidance, help, conviction when we veer off the path, acceptance, joy the world cannot give, and a purpose for this life we live on the earth. People that get saved and then ignore Christ are missing the whole point and will be saved, “so as by fire.”
  2. Trials don’t come with a warning.  How can you be prepared for a crisis, then?
    When a woman in the public eye learned that her husband was having an affair, how could she wake up in the morning and not be absolutely overcome with so much grief that she wouldn’t be able to function?  How can parents endure the death of their infant?  How do you face a health crisis of your own?  Where do you turn for stability when a teen turns their back on everything they’ve been taught?  The only way we can prepare for any crisis is by filling our hearts and minds with God’s Word and His promises and having them in our heart.  It’s like having a room of ammunition  ready to shoot at the lies that come to our hearts.  Truth is in God’s Word.  If we have waited until “some other day” to grow spiritually, you can bank on it – when a crisis comes, the only way to manage is to find a way out through substance abuse or escape.  What a sad ending.  Rather than having an anchor for our soul, we would be totally unstable.  Now is the time to prepare for a storm.
  3. Your testimony is at stake.  The psalmist said in Psalm 119:74,  They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.  What do others see when they watch your life?  Are you a Christian in name, but you don’t know what God’s Word says?  Can you teach your children about the Bible, or is it a foreign book to you?  Do others question the validity of your life as a follower of Christ because you know more of the world than you do of Christ and His Word?  Our lives and words should match up, and that can only happen when we’re in the Word regularly, reading, studying, memorizing, making notes, and digging until we’ve heard from God.  When we do that, it will change us!  That’s a living testimony.  Here’s how it will look:
    1. You’ll step out in faith because you know you can trust God.
    2. You’ll be a Word-filled person who speaks God’s Word to yourself and others.
    3. You’ll be sharing the Gospel with the lost, conscious of those around you that have not heard the Good news.
    4. You won’t fall apart in storms.
    5. You’ll be consistent  – not perfect, but steady and sure, keeping your eyes on the goal of heaven and eternity.

Growing in Christ is for every one of us. If you struggle with a desire to grow, ask God to give you that longing.  He will, and then watch what happens over a period of time – it will be another act of God’s amazing grace!

Let’s keep growing, friends, it will refresh you like nothing else in this world!

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Christian growth · Christian Life

Sure and Steady Growth

 

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Isn’t it amazing what a little dose of Miracle Gro will do for a plant? This window box is nearly bursting at the seams with pansies, Lobelia, Creeping Jenny and a couple other annuals after a couple waterings with the fertilizer.

On the outside of my box of Miracle Gro it says, “Starts to work instantly – promotes quick, beautiful results.” I must say, it really does work well – if you remember to use it! Sometimes when I’ve neglected adding the plant food to my watering can I’ll be reminded just by the look of the plant. The blooms aren’t multiplying; instead it’s just maintaining its existence in my yard. Then the thought strikes my mind – “Add Miracle Gro!” Bingo! The plants take to it, and they’re off and blooming again.

I wonder if any one’s thought of creating a miracle grow for the Christian life; a neat little package that if applied weekly will guarantee “quick, beautiful results.” “That’s ridiculous!” you say. Of course it is, but I wonder how many would pick up the package and give it a good consideration? Growth in our spiritual life is gradual. It comes slowly, from day by day study of the Word, and that’s hard. We want to see sprouts of new growth overnight.

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Just as I neglect the needed addition to my plants occasionally, we’re prone to neglect what we know will bring growth in our spiritual lives. It takes too much effort. We may be very thirsty and know we need a drink from the Living Fountain of God’s Word, but it’s just easier to go talk to a friend about my issues. We’re content with a little splash of water – a quick prayer, a light reading of Scripture without a real longing to commune with our Savior.

Sometimes our loving “Gardener” will bring a trial that will force growth. We’re pushed to the Word every day because it becomes our very sustenance. We can’t survive without it and we are very aware of need. For weeks, perhaps months our lives sprout under the nourishment of God’s Word. Jeremiah 15:16 says, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart; for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.”

After the trial, have you ever found yourself feeling not so needy and falling back into your comfortable routine of neglect? We all have to guard our hearts so that we continue to grow by delighting in the Word. We are preparing for the next trial before it arrives.

Psalm 119:80 – Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed. 

When the next trial comes, we will find that our heart is “sound” or secure in the Word. We have new blooms, so to speak. They’ve come gradually by the meditating of the word (Psalm 119:11) and we won’t be ashamed, in other words, we won’t fall apart and come unglued because we didn’t know how to apply the Scriptures to our situation.

The missionary Amy Carmichael said this about spiritual growth:

“Sometimes when we read the words of those who have been more than conquerors, we feel almost despondent. I feel that I shall never be like that. But they are won through step by step by little bits of wills, little denials of self, little inward victories by faithfulness in very little things. They became what they are. No one sees these little hidden steps. They only see the accomplishment, but even so, those small steps were taken. There is no sudden triumph to spiritual maturity. That is the work of the moment. “

We’ll never be done with growing until we reach heaven’s shores; it’s a slow yet deliberate process. There’s no Miracle Gro remedy for us as there is for my plants, but growth is certain if we just do what we know we need to do with our gracious Savior’s enabling.

What are you doing today to promote growth in your spiritual life? I’d love to hear about how you study the Word to keep it fresh!

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Christian growth · ministry
The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge:
but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.
Proverbs 15:14

What parent is there that would want their child to remain an infant all their life? As cute as our babies are, we rejoice at each step of growth as they mature. In the same way, as we continue on this journey of walking with the Lord, we have must first have a relationship with God by receiving Christ as our personal Savior. After that, the natural outflow from our spiritual life should be growth.

We all experience dry spells, but for the most part, we should be making progress spiritually. It is aided by purposeful focus. We will purposefully seek knowledge if it is our desire to grow in the Lord more each day.

In order to go beyond just floating along in our Christian life, we need to dig deeper. The means that one woman, Elizabeth George used was:

  1. She never bought a skirt or pair of pants without pockets in it. At the beginning of the week she would write a new memory verse on a 3×5 card and would take it out all day long and read it and work on hiding that verse in her heart. What verse are you currently working on memorizing?
  2. She had “Five Fat Files.” She purchased five file folders in order to tuck away information on Biblical subject matters. She was to pick five areas in which she wanted to grow in expertise so that she was filling herself up with knowledge in these areas.

    In order for us to follow this advice we need to ask ourselves (and pray about) what we’d like to be known for. Do you want to be known as a woman of prayer? Mentoring? Soul winning? After you’ve chosen your five Biblical topics, seek knowledge in these areas. You’ll then know what subjects to be studying. We can’t read everything, but when we have chosen five areas, we have a better idea of what kind of books we should be looking for. We’ll know which workshops to attend when we go to a ladies’ retreat. We’ll clip articles from magazines on those subjects, or print off information we read on the Internet. We can talk with people who are excelling in those areas and ask them questions.

It really helps to funnel our attention to a much smaller focus, and then to seek knowledge especially in those five areas. How will this aid your spiritual growth? You’ll be anxious to get out of bed in the morning to jump up and get in God’s Word to learn more what He says about those five subjects.

Along with filling your five fat files, Elizabeth encourages us to code our Bibles. If you’re seeking knowledge about prayer, mark a P next to each verse you read about praying, a person who prayed, how to pray, Jesus’ prayers, etc. If you make a study of the Women of the Bible, role of women, older women, place a W beside each passage you find about them. Each day as you read your Bible, read it with a pen in hand; that is an act of faith, revealing that you’re certain the Lord is going to show you a nugget that you need to mark.

This kind of study is the main stream to ministry. As you fill yourself up in these five areas, you’ll be like a teapot jumping on the stove. You’ll be so filled with knowledge from God’s Word that you’ll be pouring out on other people. Like the woman that Elizabeth learned from, women will seek you out to get wisdom from the areas in which you have grown.

So, what kind of ministry will you have from the outflow of your spiritual growth? By His grace, let’s each choose those five areas and start growing!

Because of His grace,