God sent me Virginia Beach last week to visit with ladies that I’ve only met through Twitter and ministry blogs and it was absolutely wonderful! 2 days I woke early and headed to the beach to get a glimpse of the sun rising over the horizon.
Day 1 of the sunrise:
Our house, across the road from the beach where the 5 of us gathered to just do some God Talking about certain Scriptures, learning and being encouraged by each other.
Day 2 of sunrises:
I loved the mornings on the beach, it was so peaceful and isolated.
I loved even more the fellowship and the Bible study. Those ladies are so smart!!! And then we had communion together with antique communion glasses. They were so neat and the moment was so meaningful.
I came back from this retreat with some words from God, things that He might want me to be doing, confirmation in what I am doing, definitely doing some things that will make me uncomfortable.
Beth Moore is my all-time bible study leader. I’ve been privileged to actually sit under her teaching personally, but mostly I just watched her on DVD’s. The times that I’ve been able to attend one of her conferences it has been an awesome experience. There is just something about being in the midst of so many women there for one purpose…to draw closer to God…that radiates throughout the building. Everyone should experience that at least once.
But if you can’t, Beth (can I just call her Beth like we are good friends that just had lunch together?) and LifeWay has started making her conferences available for viewing through a simulcast. Which means that while the conference is going on somewhere else, you can see it live at your church or home.
190,000 viewers live and through the simulcast participated in this conference.
I’ll admit, I haven’t gotten the most energy out of the simulcast like I have when I was actually in the conference…but I always get the message God intended for me. Plus, with the purchase of the individual simulcast, I can go back and listen to the sessions for a month afterwards, as often as I want to.
That is exactly what I’ve been doing with the simulcast from Beth’s last conference in September. Here are some of the take-away notes that I took during that conference.
Blessed is She Who Believed, Luke 1:45
We are one gathering of many women yearning for God to speak.
It is impossible for me not to qualify for an encounter with Jesus Christ.
What would happen if all these women decided today to do womanhood very well?
Jesus changes the story of every woman He meets.
All it takes to be blessed today is to believe Him!
(I put some notes from the night I watched this the first time on another post, click here to read it.)
One who heard us was a woman from Pinewood, TN named Deborah Boutwell, an office worker, quilter, wife, mother.
The Lord opened her heart to respond.
Blessed is SHE who believed!
God has revealed Himself to us, now it is time for us to respond!
What will you do with what God reveals to us today?
Acts 1:24 – Jesus is the heartknower, He knows my heart.
Isaiah 61:1 – Binds up the broken-hearted. But sometimes we aren’t getting any healing because we have bound up our hearts where even God can’t get to it. A woman heard (Lydia) and then God opened her heart to pay attention. Hearing is not always paying attention.
Jesus wants a woman to know who she is and what she’s not.
I think women spend a lot of time finding their identity. We identity ourselves based on who we “belong” to (Ken’s wife, James’ daughter, Sally & Adam’s mom) or on what we do. But our identity should be found in the Scriptures…I am blessed because I believe in Jesus.
What does a woman of God look like? She’s looks like me.
After I posted the picture in my last post, I felt the need for a change. I twitted that I either needed a new tattoo or a haircut…the haircut won out. So Saturday, I took a fall drive to town, turned the radio up really loud, and had a few inches cut off my hair!
So….this is me today.
I know that it looks like I have a head full of gray/white hair, but it is still just mostly in the front. The beauticians always say that women pay lots of money to have my highlights. Little do they know, all it takes is lots of stress and the right genetics!
This is me, Deborah.
I’m pretty basic. I like t-shirts, skirts and sandals but I also like jeans and boots.
My hair is graying or turning white. I’m 50 years old, married with two kids. I hate to wear make-up.
99% of the time, I feel inadequate in whatever I’m doing, whatever “it” may be.
90% of the time, I’m wrong and I was adequate enough….but I never know that until after it’s over.
But during the midst of “it”, I have to mentally keep telling myself that I can get through “it” and there is this large internal battle that goes on inside me.
I’m in one of those battles right now.
I’ve been asked to lead a Bible study at work with my co-workers and I’ve been given the chance to attend a small retreat in Virginia with friends that I’ve only met on social media sites.
I feel so inadequate! I’m trying not to stress…but…I’m stressing.
When I stress over things, I have some medical issues that flair up in my body and they are flaring!
So I’m going to remind myself that God is opening these doors for me to go through for a reason and He doesn’t send me through them alone, He goes before me.
But if you want to pray for me….I wouldn’t mind it at all!
The first chapter of Dorothy Kelley Patterson’s book, A Woman Seeking God, explains “the Bethel experience”.
…every believer must make many trips to “Bethel”, seeking the will and direction of the Lord and reaching for His strength and sustenance for the trials and difficulties that inevitably arise in the course of life on this earth.
If you don’t know the Old Testament story of Jacob, you might not understand what she means by her reference to “Bethel” and why we must make many trips there.
Genesis 25-28 explains the relationship between Jacob and his twin brother, Esau, which wasn’t good. Their parents didn’t help by having favorites, Esau was his father’s and Jacob was his mother’s. Their mother helped Jacob trick his father and his brother into receiving a blessing that was not meant for him. In so doing, she caused an even deeper rift between the brothers and a separation from her son, where she would never see him again.
After stealing his blessing (to be a man of means with nations serving him and the covenant promise from God to possess the land promised to Abraham), Jacob has to run for his life because his brother wants to kill him. He is sent away to find a wife, back to their people they had left in Paddan-aram generations before.
Jacob leaves Beersheba (at the bottom of the map above) and travels to Bethel where he stops for the night. Alone and probably feeling ashamed by what he had done and devastated by the outcome, it had to have been one of Jacob’s lowest moments of his life. Nothing was turning out as he planned.
He wasn’t looking for God, he was simply running He was exhausted, so tired that he laid down on the ground, used a rock for a pillow and feel asleep.
I’ve slept “like a rock” before, but not “on a rock”, unless I was camping. I can’t imagine that he was very comfortable. Maybe he felt he didn’t deserve any comfort. When I’m worried about something, I dream strange dreams. That night, on the rocky pillow, Jacob had a dream!
A stairway came from Heaven and touched Earth and angels went up and down the stairs. God stood next to Jacob and confirmed the covenant He had made with his father and grandfather:
“I am Yahweh, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your offspring the land that you are now sleeping on. Your offspring will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out toward the west, the east, the north, and the south. All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. Look, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. I will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Jacob woke up, knowing that he had been in the presence of God and made an altar out of the stone he had used for his pillow and named the place “Bethel”.
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” He was afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! This is none other than the house of God. This is the gate of heaven.” Early in the morning Jacob took the stone that was near his head and set it up as a marker. He poured oil on top of it and named the place Bethel, though previously the city was named Luz. Then Jacob made a vow: “If God will be with me and watch over me on this journey, if He provides me with food to eat and clothing to wear, and if I return safely to my father’s house, then the Lord will be my God. This stone that I have set up as a marker will be God’s house, and I will give to You a tenth of all that You give me.”
Jacob wasn’t looking for a message from God, God might not have even been in his thoughts, but God was waiting on him to get to a place where He could be heard.
Jacob was approaching Bethel, weary and worn, devastated and depressed, down on his luck, in a bad place, worst than he had ever been before and God says “I can work with that.”
How many of us are approaching Bethel today, not realizing that God is about to work in us or through us to bring about His plan? We think that we are worthless, we just want to curl up and forget what has happened to us or what we have done. Yet God is saying, “It’s not the plan I had for you, but I can still make it work. Look, I am with you, open your eyes and see me. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Do you need to rename the place you are at today “Bethel”? Will it be the place where you finally put your trust in God to lead and guide you?
God kept His promise to Jacob and all the world was blessed through him. Jacob is one of Jesus’ great-grandfathers. Through Jesus the entire world is blessed.
God keeps His promises. He’s not like people, changing their minds based on attitudes or circumstances. You can trust Him.
He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. Hebrews 13:5
The family of James Lewis Sr. and the late Frances Lewis
are sharing with the public, for the first time,
the artwork of Frances Lewis in oils at the
Grinder’s Switch Winery (in Centerville, TN) on
Friday, October 3rd – 4-7, and Saturday, October 4th – 10-6.
This will be the first time that the original oil paintings will be on display, along with the prints made from those originals. The prints will be for sale in various sizes and formats with all the proceeds going toward the Frances Lewis Art Scholarship for Hickman County High School art students going into the study of art after graduation.
Frances was well-known for her skills in many mediums, excelling in them all. She studied and taught art locally and nationally. Many of her oil paintings were created on locations which varied from the beaches of Florida to the mountains of Colorado.
At her side at every location, was her husband, James Lewis. He would carry her easel and paints to the locations and keep watch over her while she created her masterpieces. Often times, it was his photographs that would later inspire Frances’ paintings. Mixed in with her brushstrokes are the stories of the places they visited together. A lifetime of travels and a love for nature is captured in every painting, bringing each picture to life until you can almost feel the chill in the air, hear the rushing waters and the elk’s bugle.
On Friday evening, October 3rd, James will tell the stories behind the brushstrokes. He will share stories of nearly impassable roads that took him and Frances high into the mountain ranges where few have gone where they experienced sights rarely seen, God’s beauty beyond comparison. James has a story for every picture and his stories will make you want to travel there yourself. If you would like to plan a trip west, he can tell you where to go to see things not on any map.
The Grinder’s Switch Winery has offered us a beautiful setting to display these treasures. Located in the back roads of Hickman County, tucked underneath a canopy of trees, you’ll find this little log house where you can sample their local wine and browse through their store.
If you are unable to visit with us over the weekend, the prints are always available for sale at Piney River Escape’s website, with all the proceeds going to the Frances Lewis Art Scholarship.
October 3rd-4th – the Hickman County Quilt Guild will be hosting their annual quilt show.
October 4th-5th – Hickman County will also be hosting the National Banana Pudding Festival.
There’s a lot to do and see in Hickman County that weekend. Make plans to join us for some art, quilts, wine, and pudding.
Visit www.visitCenterville.com for complete directions to all the fun!