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

 

Receiving What God Has for Us – Fruitful Dreams Part 2 October 22, 2008

When we truly know how to DREAM B.I.G., then we will no longer waste our time with fruitless dreams and needless disappointments.

Discern the voice of the Lord
Receive what He has for us
Exalt Him
Allow Him the right of way
Minister to others through what He has given you.

Believe
In
God

In the previous post about Dreaming BIG, we looked at how Discerning the Voice of the Lord will help us to have fruitful dreams.  Now I would like to look at the next part of DREAM using the same portion of scripture.

1 [[[A Psalm] of David.]] Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; [so] shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring [it] to pass. 6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. 7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Psalms 37:1-7 KJV

Receive What He Has For Us

  • God wants to give us something

4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Looking at this portion of scripture we see in verse 4 that when we begin to “delight ourselves in the Lord,” that is when He wants to GIVE us something.  That “something” is the desires of our heart.  If someone wants to give us something, then our response should be to RECEIVE what is being given!  As God begins to place desires in our heart, we should joyfully receive those desires.

The funny thing I have found about the desires that God places in my heart is that those desires are often things that previously would not have had a place of priority in my life – things like a desire to serve others, a desire to forgive, a desire for more time with the Lord, a desire to give, a desire to spend more time with God’s people, a desire to share God’s word with others. In fact, it is often difficult to find a place in our old hearts to put these new desires.  Many times it may involve cleaning out some old desires to make room for new ones.  God places these desires in our hearts, but unless we receive them as God’s plan for us, we will most likely remain self-centered, and spend much of our time chasing after those fruitless dreams that we are trying to avoid!

  • Receive the “Food” that God serves

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; [so] shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

Verse 3 tells us that we shall be fed.  I like to be fed! (Unfortunately a little too much!)  But the food that God has for His children is always good for us.  We need to receive the “food” that God has for us.  That food is His word.  We need to be hungry for and ready to receive everything the Bible tells us.  We need to partake of His word in such a way that it is digested fully and becomes part of us, making us stronger and nourishing our spirits much the same way that physical food nourishes our bodies.  When it comes to dining at the Lord’s table, we should always eat what is set before us and make a “happy plate.”

  • Retaining what we receive

One more point I would like to make about Receiving what He has for us is that we need to respond to what we receive.  As I sat in the prayer meeting reading my Bible, I felt a gentle prompting to turn to Psalm 37.  I did.  I read the portion of scripture that is listed above.  As I read that portion of scripture, God revealed DISCERN, RECEIVE, EXALT, ALLOW, MINISTER to me.  I grabbed a scrap of paper and jotted that down.  In this particular instance, I was at a prayer meeting, so I was expectant to receive something from Him.  I can’t say that I’m always ready.  I know too many times I have missed something that God has had for me because I was simply too lazy to write it down, or too doubtful that He was really trying to teach me something.

I’m grateful that in this particular instance I obeyed.  On Tuesday of the next week, my friend and Pastor’s wife asked me to give the message on our Thursday night Dream Date for the ladies (ONLY 2 DAYS LATER!).  Normally this would have caused great panic in me with only a day and a half to prepare a message, but the Lord had already given it to me and I had already received it. 

Imagine all the opportunities we will have if we willingly and faithfully receive everything that God has for us!

I’m a Believer!

Laura

 

Discerning the Voice of the Lord – Fruitful Dreams Part 1 October 10, 2008

As little girls we sang the song A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes along with Cinderella.  We had full faith in the part that said “Have faith in your dreams, and someday, your rainbow will come smiling through.  No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true. ”  Something happened as we got older.  The dreams that we were wishing were not necessarily coming true.  Why not?  Although it is a beautiful song, with beautiful sentiment, it’s saying the wrong thing about faith.  The song tells us to have faith in our dream, but the Bible tells us to have faith in God.  The song tells us that if we keep on believing in our dreams long enough, they will come true.  I know from personal experience that just because I believe something for a long time doesn’t mean that it will happen – I’ve dreamed of being a size 4 for years!  But I do want to dream, and I do want my dreams to come true!  Is this possible?  Yes!  God has placed desires in our hearts, and He wants to fulfill them.

A portion of scripture that has always spoken to me about fulfilled dreams is Psalm 37:4.  

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

This little verse is nestled among several verses that will give us a good idea of what it takes to have our dreams come true! 

1 A Psalm of David. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. 6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. 7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. (Psalms 37:1-7 KJV)

Looking at this portion of scripture, the part that always jumps out at me is that the Lord wants to give me the desires of my heart!  I’ve also come to realize that He not only fulfills the desires of our hearts (our dreams), He gives them to us in the sense that He directly places the desires in our hearts, so that He can fulfill them and we can find our satisfaction and wholeness in Him.  That is so exciting to me! 

The difficult part is sorting out which are the dreams that He has given me that will bear fruit, and which are vain imaginations on my part, which are things that may make me temporarily happy, but will not be of any consequence to the Kingdom of God, which are things that will distract me from God’s true purpose as I try to attain something which God never had for me, and which are the desires that He has genuinely placed in my heart so that He can fulfill them.  I believe some of the answers to having fruitful dreams are found in Psalm 37:1-7.  When we truly know how to DREAM B.I.G., then we will no longer waste our time with fruitless dreams and needless disappointments.

Discern the voice of the Lord
Receive what He has for us
Exalt Him
Allow Him the right of way
Minister to others through what He has given you.

Believe
In
God

Discern the Voice of the Lord

As we first begin to search our hearts for what God has placed in us, it is necessary that we discern His voice.  It is urgent that we not only hear His voice, but that we recognize His voice.

 

  • Fret Not!

  • Psalm 37 begins with an admonition for us:

    1Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.  2For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.   Psalm 37:1-2

    We are told “fret not”.  The verse does not discount the fact that there is evil going on, but it tells us that “evildoers” and “workers of iniquity” should be of no consequence to us, mainly because of the fact that God already has plans for those folks!  Many times I believe we are distracted from hearing the voice of God because we are focusing on everything but God.  We are so busy worrying about our circumstances, that we simply miss His voice.  We don’t even hear it at all.

    • Rest and Wait (and PS, “fret not”)

    So, let’s say we stop “fretting ourselves” how do we actually begin to hear what may be God’s voice?  Let’s look at Psalm 37:7

    7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

    How do we recognize His voice among the many voices (translate:  responsibilities, obligations, habits, opinions) that call to us on a daily basis?  This scripture tell us that we must “rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.”  The word “rest” in this particular scripture means to be silent or still.  It is necessary for us to simply be quiet and be still with the purpose of hearing from God.  If you’ve ever tried to have a personal, private, intimate conversation in the middle of a crowd, you will understand the necessity of quiet in having meaningful communication.  God is simply saying “Can we go somewhere that’s a little quieter?”  I encourage you to turn away from your busy-ness and go somewhere a little quieter with God.

    Another important part of this is “wait patiently.”  It may be excruciating to wait for God’s timing in many of our situations.  You may be tempted to tap your toe, twitch, writhe and jump around with anxiety – but we are told to “wait patiently” as we are resting, being quiet, and being still before Him.  His timing is always perfect.

    PS – we are told “fret not” again – just in case we forgot!

    • Be Fed

    This Psalm was written by David, God’s “Shepherd King”.  As in many of the psalms, there is some imagery associated with sheep in the fields.  Psalm 37:3 tells us

    Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

    The imagery here is of lambs dwelling in safety and being led and fed by the shepherd. 

    In the new testament, Jesus is our Shepherd King.  In John 10:27 Jesus Himself says that His sheep will recognize His voice.

    My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: John 10:27

    If we are truly a follower of Jesus, we are given the ability to know His voice and to follow Him.  As children of the New Covenant, our food is to be the Word of God.  With Jesus as our Shepherd, we can hear His voice and feed on the Word.

    This scripture tells us that “verily thou shalt be fed.”  The word “verily” in this verse implies a faithful steadfastness and steadiness.  I’m so glad that I will be faithfully and steadily fed with the good things that my Shepherd has for me.

    I’m a Believer!

    Laura

    Read Fruitful Dreams Part 2:  Receiving What He Has For Us

     

    Waiting Patiently to Dream Big October 2, 2008

    As the lights are lowered for the prayer meeting and the music is turned on, I seek a quiet place where I can pray.  Several other ladies are also seeking their favorite prayer chair and position.  I love the hush of the sanctuary as we quiet for prayer.  Up on the platform, the golden letters DREAM are illuminated by the single spotlight.  Dream Big – our upcoming women’s conference  – the reason for the prayer meeting. 

    I quiet myself and try to begin praying, but strangely find that I am unable to concentrate.  

    Lord?  There seems to be static on the line.  What is the problem? 

    Ok – I’ll repent (I’ve always got something that needs repenting over)…

    Shhhh….

    OK – I’ll confess (I’ve always got something that needs to be confessed)…

    Shhhh…

    OK – I’ll praise Him because He is good!  He is Almighty, He is from everlasting to everlasting, He is Holy, Holy, Holy.  He is all powerful and forgiving.  His mercies are new every morning.  He is gracious and mighty to save.  God you are so good!

    Shhhh…  Shhhh….  Shhhhh… 

    Am I all alone here?  I’d better check to see if some of the other ladies seem to be having connection problems.  Peeking over shoulder – nope doesn’t look like it.  Looks like their connection is fine. 

    I guess I’ll just sit here and wait. 

    Oh… is that it Lord?  Ahhhh… I knew You were there!

    Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him… Psalm 37:7a

    I’ll have to try that first next time!

    What’s that you say, Lord? 

    In order to not have fruitless dreams, we need to dream according to Your plans?  And when we dream, we must DREAM B.I.G.!

    But how?

    Discern the voice of the Lord
    Receive what He has for us
    Exalt Him
    Allow Him the right of way
    Minister to others through what He has given you.

     

    Believe
    In
    God

    Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. {Psalms 37:3-7 KJV}

    Continued Here

    I’m a Believer!

    Laura