I’m a Believer

…blessed is she that believed… -Luke 1:45

Conference Synopsis – Guest Writer! November 17, 2008

My friend Judy always writes such sweet summaries of the fun we have at church.  She gave me permission to post this on my blog – YAY!!  Thanks, Judy…

flowers-shirt-dream-bigI’m surrounded by notes, pamphlets, CD’s, name tags, gift bags and more notes, all having to do with the 7th Annual Women’s Conference that was held November 7th and 8th, 2008. The theme, of course, was Dream BIG!

To get a handle on what this conference meant, you would have to go back several weeks, to the first meeting in August, when the theme was revealed. LaDon did a skit for us and I just knew our theme was “Get Out of the Box”, but that wasn’t it. There was more to this conference than those before it. This was to be our 7th year – our Sabbath Conference! This put a whole new emphasis on the conference. Not only could we expect God to pour out a harvest on seed previously sown, but also in areas we haven’t sown at all!!! Our Conference Scripture, Ephesians 3:20, says ‘Now to Him who is able to do EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us’. How perfectly appropriate that in this, our Sabbath Year, we could expect such a harvest that would EXCEED ABUNDANTLY all that we had DREAMED (seed sown) or could DREAM (seed unsown)! And so it was that our theme, Dream BIG, had been birthed!

Our monthly “Joy Rides” were transformed to our “Dream Dates”. But our September Dream Date was not what we expected. Hurricane Gustav had roared through (devouring whom he could…) and had knocked out power to our entire area, including the church. But Praise God, we had POWER on 9/11/08! (We had electricity, too!) Attendance was light, but those who came were blessed. We were reminded that our home – our true home – is in Heaven. Anything the hurricane blew away was only temporary anyway. We were reminded to let God complete us.

Meetings and planning and practices continued through the month of September and October, bringing us to the very weekend for the Conference. We’re always so excited to see what God will do!

journey_to_heaven_1

JOURNEY TO HEAVEN

Friday evening, walking into the sanctuary, the beauty of the decorations was only matched by the filling Spirit that seemed to be everywhere. Even with an Interstate shut-down delaying traffic, we had 100 ladies registered Friday evening. After grazing through a lavish buffet of all kinds of wonderful dishes, we went into the sanctuary. Delma and Cochise were back to kick things off.

LaDon presented a drama about the Journey to Heaven and then Lollie spoke about our Dream Home – that heavenly place that is already prepared for us! It was hard to leave, but we did have an early morning call.

Saturday started with our great smoothies and assorted breakfast pastry goodies, then Jenny Rogers spoke on Dreams Present, reminding us of the story of Joseph. LaDon presented another drama – the Scarlet Cord – Present, about Rahab.

Scarlet Cord - Present

The Scarlet Cord - Present

After a coffee break, Lollie’s Dream Girls handed out the cutest Goodie Bags full of all kinds of neat things. The bags were made up like little tuxedos. Too cute! LaDon was back with the Scarlet Cord – Past, showing us where Rahab had been.

The Scarlet Cord - Past

The Scarlet Cord - Past

Laura spoke on Dreams Past, reminding us to learn from our past, remembering where God has brought us FROM, but to let go of the past in order to move to the future! The analogy of the monkey bars was perfect. I think next the door prizes were drawn and given out – my memory isn’t what it used to be. Regardless of WHEN, I do know that there were LOTS of door prizes!

We had a fabulous catered lunch with extra goodies from our wonderful River of Life cooks, and we were served by a few of our faithful men, in white shirts, black slacks, bow ties, and starched white man-aprons! Always such a treat to have the men wait on us!

Right after lunch, the crowd was entertained by the Dream Girls – a group of our more mature ladies, dancing in their PJ’s and robes to a mix tape of “dream” lyrics! Did I mention the curlers and mud packs?

rahab_future_1

The Scarlet Cord - Future

After group worship, LaDon was back with one more drama – the Scarlet Cord – Future, showing us where Rahab finally ends up. Jenny Rogers played and sang a special song and then Lollie spoke of Dreams Future. We are to live in the present but we are given the HOPE of our FUTURE with God in Heaven!

By the end of the weekend, we knew that God had been present in our past (the planning), our present (every aspect of the conference) and our future (the harvest even yet to come). We all may have different concepts of what dreaming is all about, but if you were at this conference, you left knowing that the key to our Dreams is Jesus.

 

I’m a Believer! (and a Dreamer!)

Laura

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Women’s Conference Update November 13, 2008

Dream Team 2008

Dream Team 2008

Our Dream Big Women’s Conference was a tremendous success!!  Pictures are posted at our church website… here.  I’ll post more later, but wanted to put the photo link up quickly.

Also, my friend Rena posted her testimony about the conference here

We’d all love to hear your thoughts and testimonies if you attended.  Leave a comment when you get a chance and share anything the Lord showed you through this ministry.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO DREAMS PASTthe message I preached at the conference.

I’m a Believer!

Laura

 

Daily Mercies – The Best Way for Bad Things to Happen November 10, 2008

daily_mercies2My friend Rena & her sister Ginger have started a new “meme” called The Daily Mercies in which we are encouraged to share a story or testimony of how we’ve seen God’s mercy at work in our life or in the lives of others.  What a great idea!  I’m so excited!  Now I’ll have a place to record all those wonderful moments when I get to see God’s hand.  At the moment it happens, His hand may be SO OBVIOUS, but in a few days, or in different circumstances, I’m tempted to forget those “Daily Mercies” that He shows me.  So thanks, Rena & Gin!  You’ll help me to remember…

Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
1 Chronicles 16:12-13

So, for my first Daily Mercy, I would like to share with you how God can allow bad things to happen to you, but happen in the best way possible.

As I pulled out of Hobby Lobby parking lot after a delicious lunch with my friend Rena, I thought about which way to go.  Left to the interstate – quicker.  Right to the back way – less traffic…  I decided to go right, the back way.  Something seemed daunting about the interstate. 

As I drove down the road about 2 miles from Hobby Lobby, 3 miles from the interstate, 6 miles from home, 20 yards from a stop sign, and 100 yards away from an old bridge in the middle of road construction, my gas pedal suddenly went to the floor, all the dashboard lights came on, and my three year old van stalled.  GREAT! (That’s a sarcastic “GREAT”, by the way.)  As I tried to crank it again, it WOULD NOT START!  So, I sat.  A sitting duck in a bright blue van 20 yards away from a stop sign. 

I tried to turn on my flashers.   My battery was so dead, I could not even turn my flashers on.  I tried to put the van in neutral so that I (haha) could push it onto the shoulder and out of the main lane.  The battery was too dead to allow me to put the car in neutral.  What???

And so I called my friend who has recently decided that she will not talk on the phone while she is driving.  Great idea – but I think she was driving when I called.  No answer.  I promptly forgot that my other friend lived 2 minutes away, so I didn’t call her.  Then I remembered the ringtone on my phone  “When you call on Jesus, all things are possible…” it sings at me regularly.  So I called on Jesus and tried to start the car again.  Nope.  So I called my husband at work, my regular knight in shining armor who always comes to my pathetic rescue when I need it.  The rescue is not pathetic – no, it is far from pathetic, it is always selfless and noble, and I’m grateful for that.

As I sat IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD, I figured I better get out of the van in case anyone plowed slap into me as I waited for my hero.  Alrighty then – There I stood, beside a stalled car.  The children would be getting off the bus in 45 minutes.  Oh look – I suddenly saw a tow truck.  “Maybe he’ll stop!”  (That’s me talking to myself.)  Nope.  Sit, sit, sit.  Wave to direct people  – “Just go around it.  I’ll just stand here.  Thanks for stopping. ”  (More sarcasm – no one had stopped.)

Aha!  A police car!  Yes!  “Hey!   Yooo hoooo…”   Wave, wave, wave…. Over here!! Wave higher, wave bigger, wave louder….  Oh – he turned.  But look – that creepy guy that looks remarkably like the uni-bomber is headed my way.  He must have thought I was waving at him instead of the at the cops.  I wonder if he’ll let me borrow his “hoodie” or his mirrored sunglasses, or maybe his house shoes. 

A black pickup truck pulled up behind me, just as UniBomber made his way to my front fender.  The kind, older, trustworthy-looking man inside asked how he could help.  He jump-started the van so that we could put it in neutral and push it onto the LOVELY CORNER LOT that I was just inches from.  He shoooed away UniBomber and assured me that he “Had his eye on that fruitcake.” 

Five minutes later, my knight in shining Mazda showed up and took it from there.  

What on earth does that have to do with the mercy of God?  I’m so glad you asked. 

I’m learning to be thankful to God for times like this.  Times when it is inevitable that something has to go wrong – car batteries and pcv hoses (whatever that is) don’t last forever.  It was time for my van to break down.  But the breakdown didn’t happen when I was flying down an unknown interstate in Georgia just the week before.  It didn’t break down in the middle of New Orleans while I had a vanload of kids only 2 days before.  It didn’t break down on a rickety bridge.  It didn’t break down on the interstate.  It broke down just inches away from a lovely corner with plenty of room to park.  My husband was not in court or in an appointment when I called.  The uni-bomber didn’t get me. 

I believe that God’s MERCY has to do with His witholding bad things from us.  God withholds so many bad things from happening to us every day.  We usually don’t know the extent of His mercy towards us.  Sometimes, though, as in this instance, we get a little glimpse.  It was time for my car to break down – it was time for “something bad” to happen.  But God allowed it to be in the best way possible.  He loves us, He wants good things for us, and many times He provides those things by His mercy. 

This is why Jesus says that we can have peace.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  John 16:33

Did you hear that?  Jesus says that we can have peace in Him.  In the midst of the troubles of this world (i.e., car trouble), we can be of good cheer – that means happy and not anxious, because He has overcome the world.  When we are in Him, He can allow us those breakdowns that have to happen, but they can be turned into breakthroughs when He has directed our paths.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.  He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.  The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.  The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.  Psalm 121:8

I’m grateful that my help comes from Him and that He preserves me and keeps me and that His mercies are new every morning.  Visit Rena & Ginger to hear what else our merciful God is up to.

I’m a Believer!

Laura