Saturday, August 08, 2009

To infinity and beyond-beyond!

I was extremely blessed to be able to recently attend the Deeper Still conference, with speakers Kay Arthur, Beth Moore, and Priscilla Shirer. (thanks to my sweet hubby for buying me a ticket at the last minute because he knew I *so* wanted to go - even though he wanted us to go to the beach for the weekend!) I encourage every woman reading this to try and attend this conference if you are able. These amazing women challenged me to go "Deeper Still" in every part of my spiritual life. They renewed my love for the Word, gave encouragement for dealing with these trying times we live in, and reminded me that ALL the guidance I need for my daily life is found between the covers of the beloved Word of God.

(click the teachers' names for more info about them)

Priscilla is a blessed young mother who is a wonderful, dynamic Bible teacher. She reminded us all that GOD IS ABLE to do "more than we can ever ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20-21) - to not only go beyond our expectations, but beyond-beyond anything we can ask or imagine (according to His will). How amazing is it that we can ask for something from God, and know that He can do more than we could even imagine!

It's like asking for a scoop of vanilla ice cream and getting a scoop of vanilla with warm chocolate sauce on top.
But wait, there's more! Not only do you get a scoop of vanilla with warm chocolate sauce on top, but you get more delicious toppings in addition that you could even IMAGINE - tastes you couldn't have even dreamed up in your own mind, treats that leave you reeling from the sheer bliss of it! How amazing that our God IS ABLE, and wants to give us this in everything we ask of Him according to His will?? Are we believing that? Do you believe that God can not only make your husband spend more time with you, but that he can also make your husband crave Scripture, be more affectionate toward you and your children, AND take you on a luxury cruise for no reason?? Sounds impossible, you say? The point is - GOD IS ABLE!!

If you're single and wish to be married - do you believe that God is bringing you a special man? Do you believe He will bring you someone perfect for you? Ok, do you believe that He will bring someone who is special, perfect for you, loves Jesus, wants to spoil you like a princess, AND is drop-dead gorgeous?? Because God IS ABLE - if you trust in Him!

Do you really believe that God can deliver your child from drugs? Do you believe He can deliver your child from drugs and make him/her want to go to college and graduate with honors? Do you believe He can deliver your child from drugs, make him/her want to go to college and graduate with honors, AND give them a calling to missions work where they will spread the Gospel to many, many others as a lifelong calling? Because guess what - God IS ABLE!

Ask God for what you need or want,
but expect BEYOND-BEYOND what you can ever imagine!

Kay Arthur - WOW. I'd never heard her speak before this conference. When she came on stage, and mentioned that she's 75 years old (she looks every bit of 60, if that!), my first thought was "Oh well, this should be good, but probably nothing I can relate to..." - she KNOCKED ME OFF MY FEET! In the midst of a 45 minute Scripture quotation/narrative (amazing how much Scripture this woman knows!) she shared her amazing testimony. "Oh, by the way, in case you think God isn't able... He delivered me from X,Y, Z, and a, b, c..." and my jaw was literally left hanging. She is so utterly transparent, unabashed in her love for Christ and his redemptive power in her own life. I don't know about you, but older women that I know don't discuss such things as adulterous affairs they had in younger years, what crappy mothers they were when their children were young, the mistakes that they made along the way - it's not something that's brought up in polite conversation, you know. Kay Arthur....thank you! For showing me that it's OK to admit we aren't perfect and never have been, to take off the mask no matter our age or mistakes of the past, and to be authentic in our identity in Christ Jesus!

"Holding onto my past means that I am not believing God's Promises" can I hold on to my mistakes if it means I am saying I don't believe in what my God says He WILL do?? I can't. Period. I just looked back at my notes from that Friday night - and at the top of the page, I'd written "Embrace my victory! End my 40 years of wandering!" That pretty much sums up the whole lesson for me from Kay.

Another big part of her teaching that night was on REST.
As she puts it:
Taking the Word (what God says about my situation),
marrying it with Faith (believing it!),
equals REST that only He can give.
Does anyone else need a little REST? Can I get an "Amen, sister!" :) Praise God!!

Beth Moore - need I say more? :) This woman has a blessed anointing on her teachings and is one of the funniest, yet thought-provoking teachers I've ever heard. I was laughing until my face hurt one minute, and the next crying tears of conviction and praise the next.

One question from Beth that stuck in my heart:
Are you a Casual Christian, or a Committed Christian?
Do I really put God in first place where He belongs? I don't mean just saying that I do, I mean DOING it - by spending time in His Word every day, by worshiping Him at ALL times, by not trying to control my life's circumstances or others but keeping my eyes fixed on Him. (did I hear another "Amen, sister!" there?)

Do I have a drive-through fellowship with God? Do I slip in a prayer of thanks for every meal, a little blurb in the morning before I get out of bed, and another just before bed? Or do I spend time in REAL fellowship with my God. Does He not deserve more of my time? The one who created me, redeemed me, renews me - doesn't He deserve more than just a "Hi God, could you please do [this thing] for me? Thank you, Amen" prayer life?

DIALOGUE with God is true fellowship - and dialogue goes BOTH WAYS. We need to listen to God as well as speak to Him. This doesn't mean in-depth Bible studies, though they have their place and they are encouraged for us to grow in the Word. But we can quote Scripture till the cows come home, but if we don't KNOW Him, if we don't fellowship with Him as we would our very, very, very best and oldest friend - what good is it?

I am guilty of drive-through fellowship, don't get me wrong - that is why this message stabbed me in the heart. I say I don't have enough time in the day...but to put other things ahead of God in my day-planner?? God knows we are busy, especially moms - stay-at-home or working outside the home, wives, sisters, daughters, grandmothers - ALL women are busy and stretched beyond their abilities these days.

Look back at what Kay Arthur said, and pair it with what Beth Moore said - we will only find REST in God. But not if we continue to put him on the back burner for "more pressing" things that steal our time.

Well, this has gotten long enough...I could go on and on about this amazing experience. But I will just end here and encourage you all to try your best to attend some day! But more importantly, try to put God back in First place - no matter what! That's my goal, please pray that I will! Thank you for reading!


Jessica Smith said...

Melinda, this is absolutely AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! How do you find time to write all of this!?!? I'm totally subscribing and looking forward to great inspiration and great deals on coupons! I love how you put a link to your SHALI website too! How's that going? Have you completed those training calls? I'd be happy to help in any way I can. Let me know when you can get together (over the phone) so we can talk about your goals and how to reach them!