Last weekend, I was totally involved in preparing for involvement in a local women’s conference at our church. It was the first of its kind that we have had in recent history. School had started. Most people were back in town.
We had lots of bugs in the planning and many disappointments. There are a few things we will do differently the next time. But GOD came through! He spoke to us through Julie Sparkman. She is a Christian counselor from Birmingham, AL. (Restore Ministries) Despite the fact that we wanted more people to come and enjoy our speaker, He brought the ladies who needed to be there!
She had just enough humor to help us laugh at ourselves but not too much as to be silly. She spoke the truth that GOD is doing His work of salvation in us and it doesn’t look anything like what we think it should look! The same goes for our loved ones around us. The ways He is growing them is not in the directions we expect or may even want! stop
We have a picture of what we want our lives to look like. That is our idol. The way we know it is our idol is when they do something to block that picture from happening, how do we respond? If our response is anything other than joyful acceptance…and we all know it isn’t, then that picture we have so beautifully formed in our heads, is a huge idol. It is something we have put ahead of GOD and His will in our lives. It can be a very good thing, a happy family, a family that pleases GOD by ___, or whatever fills out that picture for us…having a family, a husband…you name it.
She encouraged us to make time to be quiet with GOD and allow Him to speak quietly into our lives…away from all the hustle and bustle.
As Julie spoke last weekend, her words echoed in my head along with the Scripture she shared with us. I’m glad I will have this Fall to interact with this material. We will be studying her video series IdolAddiction in our women’s group on Thursdays. It won’t be light fare as we look beneath our behavior to see where we live in unbelief and live out of congruence with the new heart He gave us at salvation described in Ezekiel. It is not something new we have to ask for. It is something He placed there already. (this is the first and more basic study. The second is Unhitching from the Crazy Train. It is in an updated study now and a book with the same title is coming out in the Spring of 2018.)
How hopeful and encouraging. We came through the weekend challenged, yes, but not to try harder. We came through realizing we need to remember who we are in Christ. Yes, we often need to repent. But not so much of the obvious behavior that shows above the surface. We need to look beneath the surface to see what idols motivate that behavior and believe that GOD loves us deeply and is concerned for our best and keeps us in a state of unbelief.
Satan’s lie to Adam and Eve, by inference was…GOD doesn’t really care about you. He doesn’t want you to enjoy your life. He is trying to make you miserable. That’s why he won’t let you eat of this fruit. So they ate of it and found out GOD was truly trying to protect them from things they had no way of understanding.
I will sprinkle clean water on you,
and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses,
and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.
And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh
and give you a heart of flesh.
“He brought the ladies who needed to be there…”
That’s how I look at my writing. I figure God will direct the people who need it. And I’m happy with that.
#2 at FMF this week.
you are so right andrew. sorry for the delay in answering. ron had another stroke on saturday. he just got out of the hospital last nite. connections at the hospital were not great. when i got home at nite, i tended to crash…funny how that happens!
Sounds like you had a great conference!
yes, we did tara. i hate to regurgitate parts of it b/c it doesn’t do it justice. but i wanted to get our speakers name out there for you.
I’m glad the conference went well, Martha. It sounds like it was challenging, but very beneficial. It is easy for even good things to become idols- for us to get caught up in our own ideas or how we think God “should” work in a situation. I like the reminder that the solution is not to try harder but to turn to Christ and remember who we are in him.
that was one of the encouraging things about the conference. another was her repeated reminder that our problem is not the lack of knowledge. we know what to do. that isn’t the problem. the problem is that we need to believe that GOD loves us and has our best interest at heart. we need to pay attention to our desires…where are they rooted?
God doesn’t want us to be numb. He wants us to own our desire and allow Him to use it for His glory.
Wow! Sounds like such an amazing women’s conference and speaker! I love how women’s conferences just fill you up and give you new perspective!! So glad you had a great time!
thanks kaitlin:) yes, it was a great one for sure.