Uncharted Territory

Thank you, Glenna Salsbury, for sharing your heart with us so eloquently at our LIFT meeting on September 13.  And what a delight it was that you chose to spend your birthday with us!  Many blessings, Glenna.Balloons and Lavender Field

The topic of our day was “Following the Holy Spirit Into Uncharted Territory.”  Here’s a reprint of a devotional we shared with those in attendance.

UNCHARTED TERRITORY

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”  Hebrews 11:8

Oh, Lord, thank You for the inspiring examples of faith that You have revealed in Your Word.  Of Abraham, who left home and country to follow You to a new land—without the benefit of maps or charts, or even a known destination.

Of Moses, who led the Israelites into the desert in obedience to Your instructions, trusting You to show the way.  And Joshua, who faced the enemies in a new land and obeyed Your specific directions—marching faithfully around Jericho even though it could not have made logical sense to him.

You even set the example Yourself, leaving Your place of privilege and honor in Heaven to become a man.  King of the Universe, yet choosing to experience the vulnerability of human life—for us.  Walking into the unknown to show us how it’s done.

And now, Lord, You call me, too, to walk in faith and obedience with You—into new and unfamiliar places.  I know it’s not just me, but each one of us who claim You as Lord.  You have made it so easy for us. . . .  At least it seems like it should be easy.

You bless us with the precious gift of Your presence—the Holy Spirit living inside us to guide and counsel and teach us Your ways.

You promise to hold us by the hand—and that we will never fall, even if we stumble on occasion, because You are holding us up.  You promise to direct our steps and show us the path if we will only trust You.

So why do I find it so difficult to follow You into uncharted territory, Lord?  Why do I keep insisting on knowing the way, seeing where the path goes before I can follow it?  Why do I think I need a map?

The truth is—I don’t.  Thank You, Lord, for reminding me of Your faithfulness.  You already know the way.  You are in control.  You are with me and for me.

In obedience and faith I place my hand in Yours yet again, Lord.  I’m ready to go forward—with You.

The Gate of the Year, by Minnie Haskins 1908

“I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’

And he replied, ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!’ . . .”

(Devotional by Deborah Barber)

Ahhhhh, YES!

Oh, yes!  It truly was refreshing!

Just as promised, LIFT’s Summer Refresher on August 2 was a time to be renewed and restored and to gain fresh insight into God’s Word.  In the way Jesus invited us to do in Matthew 11:28-30, we put life on hold for a few hours to  rest in Him and become better acquainted with His “unforced rhythms of grace.”

Joan Webb did an awesome job of leading us, sharing her story of God’s grace as it drew her away from the tyranny of “perfection” and into His freedom and rest.  If you haven’t yet checked out Joan’s ministry you can do so here:  JoanCWebb.com.  You’ll also find the beautiful poem Joan promised to share with us–it’s on her blog.

From the moment I walked into the room that morning I felt like I was exactly where God wanted me to be for the day, hearing just what I was supposed to hear.  I came away encouraged in my faith, inspired for ministry, and ready to move forward in His strength.

If you were there I would love to hear your comments on the day.  Were you as blessed as I was?

Mark your calendars–next LIFT meeting is September 13 at The Church at Arrowhead.  More info coming soon.

Blessings–

Deborah

 

 

 

REFRESHMENT WILL COME!

Dear Friends of Lift,

Have you been enjoying these wonderful, refreshing days of summer monsoons?  In the mountains of Arizona where I live the summer rains have been showing up nearly every afternoon–washing the trees, cooling the air, refreshing us with the moisture and breezes that are a delightful respite to an Arizona summer.

And next week we have an opportunity for spiritual refreshment as well.  I hope you’ve made plans to attend LIFT’s annual Summer Refresher.

Acts 3:19 talks about the “times of refreshment” that will come from the presence of the Lord.  I promise you, there will also be times of refreshment that come from the gathering of women who join together next week to encourage and LIFT each other up in ministry.

Will you be there to enjoy the cool breezes Joan Webb and the LIFT team have planned to refresh your spirit?  Check it out here.  Summer Refresher  Today is the last day to register.

Blessings–

Deborah

SEEING GOD’S HAND AT WORK

The theme was “Time to Focus on Vision.”  The event was the annual LIFT Director’s Retreat.  And the choreographer was God Himself.

Directors and leaders of women’s ministries from around Arizona gathered on Friday, March 11, to focus on developing a vision for their ministries.  It was a day set aside to encourage and equip directors and ministry leaders.  We expected to be blessed, and we were.  What took us by surprise was the way God made His presence and His control of the event known in such an unmistakable way.

 

From the earliest conversations and the pre-event prayer circle, we could see God’s hand at work as He choreographed the preparations and thoughts of the presenters to reinforce a unified message.  The theme:  God is in control; every vision must begin and end with Him; and nothing else matters except who He is, no matter what life brings our way.

With the stage set in this powerful way, Kristina Bailey did a great job of facilitating the day and teaching us how to receive, clarify and cast a vision for ministry.   As input was solicited from each woman present, it was enlightening to see and hear the recurring patterns of how God makes Himself and His intentions known to each one of us. 

The women’s ministry of North Phoenix Baptist Church treated us to a wonderful salad lunch.  The LIFT leadership team led us in games, get-acquainted activities, devotions and music.  It was fun to see the creativity as ladies sang, danced and performed impromptu songs and skits. 

At the end of the day we left inspired, encouraged, and challenged.  It was such a great day, I guess we’ll have to do it again next year!