The women’s retreat in Cullman, Alabama, was a great weekend full of fun and games, encouragement and inspiration, beautiful fall weather and good southern cookin’ of course. During my second session on Sunday morning, we spent 15 minutes in silence, listening for God’s still small voice. Spending time alone with God in the middle of a group of 60 women may seem like an oxymoron, but it makes sense when you consider that we are Christians together, in Christ. We are not alone as we seek to practice his presence and hear his voice.
A helpful resource for learning how to be more aware of and live in God’s presence while we go about our lives is a book titled Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. Someone in Australia (thanks!) gave me a link that allows you to print the book for free (for personal use). Here it is: www.practicegodspresence.com.
We are always in God’s presence but we are not always aware of him. As the book suggests, it takes practice. Today is a good day to practice his presence!
Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” What does trust look like? It looks like a child sitting quietly on her mom’s lap, knowing she’s safe and everything is right in her world. It looks like a child holding on to his dad’s hand as they walk down the street, not worrying about where they’re going or what’s going to happen later – just knowing because Dad is there, everything is fine. Trust looks like no fear, no worry, no anxiety for the future – he’s with you.
What does “with all your heart” mean? Your heart is all of you, everything that is you – thoughts, choices, feelings, emotions, desires, body and soul – we can trust God with all of who we are. He won’t let us down, even if we let go of his hand for a little while. We can trust him because he loves us, completely and unconditionally.
“I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me” (Psalm 62:5-7, NLT).
We enjoyed the first figs from our tree yesterday – a little late because of our cooler than normal summer. Definitely worth the wait! Black Mission Figs are sweet and juicy, a real treat.
Fig trees are mentioned several times in the Bible, twice in reference to the last day or that day. Micah 4:4 says every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree and no one will make them afraid. Zechariah 3:10 says each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree, speaking of a vision of Joshua.
I know not everyone likes figs, as I have discovered when trying to give them away, but everyone does want to have enough of what they need. Do we really need grapes and figs? Maybe not, but as I enjoyed my first fig of 2010, I was grateful to God for supplying us with things we don’t necessarily need but which make our lives sweeter and more enjoyable. Grapes and figs are just part of the promise that God does and will take care of us, now and in that day. His generosity is overwhelming!
A friend asked what was the highlight of the trip and I had to answer – the conferences! Being with sisters in Christ in a peaceful setting, getting to know God and each other better, sharing meals and laughs – it doesn’t get better than that!
Some may wonder if women’s conferences/retreats are really worth the time, effort and expense. My answer is a resounding yes! I’m convinced God enjoys when his people enjoy him and each other in the Spirit of love and unity. It’s the best way to spend a weekend!
Before the Malaysia retreat, Ruth and I took a city tour around Singapore. We were really happy for an air-conditioned bus! The tour made me wish for more time to explore, but that will have to wait for another trip. It’s amazing how almost 5 million people of several faiths and ethnic backgrounds can squeeze onto this tiny island and still get along pretty well.
The conference in Malaysia went really well. We met at the Legends Resort in Kulai. It was hot and humid, but that didn’t put a damper on our fun. Ruth Matthews and I enjoyed meeting with about 40 women from Singapore and Malaysia.