Archive for March, 2011
Recently the Lord blessed our family with the opportunity to host the 2011 NC Family Encouragement Weekend Conference (FEW Conference) with the Wilkes and Staddon families!! As we all labored together to make this vision a reality, it was a delight to watch the Lord pull everything together according to His perfect plan!
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
The Lord’s ways truly are far above ours, and His plans for the conference once again surpassed our imaginations! The “Conference Team” discovered that when we willingly offer ourselves to His service and surrender our will completely to His, that He loves to take our humble offering and turn it into something beautiful – of real value.
Throughout the weekend, attendees heard biblical teaching, fellowshipped with like-minded believers, and participated in Christ-honoring worship through song. During a game time for the young people on Saturday, older children were given the opportunity to disciple little ones. Special family prayer times allowed fathers to lead their families in a time of searching their hearts, confessing bitterness, and seeking the Lord.
We praise our Heavenly Father for the work that He was doing throughout the weekend! We pray that each family walked away from it encouraged to press on toward Christ-likeness by spending more time in His Word together and striving to build strong, lasting relationships within their homes.
Soli Deo Gloria!
A special challenge to all who attended:
“He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ…” Philippians 1:6
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of Whom thou hast learned them…” II Timothy 3:14
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The Master was searching for a vessel to use;
Before Him were many; Which one would He choose?
“Take me,” cried the gold one, “I’m shiny and bright.
I’m of great value and I do things just right.
My beauty and luster will outshine the rest,
And for someone like you, Master, gold would be best.”
The Master passed on with no word at all,
And looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall.
”I’ll serve you, dear Master, I’ll pour out your wine
I’ll be on your table whenever you you dine.
My lines are so graceful, my carving so true,
And silver will always complement You.”
Unheeding, the Master passed on to the brass,
Wide-mouthed and shallow and polished like glass.
”Here! Here!” cried the vessel, “I know I will do,
Place me on your table for all men to view.”
“Look at me,” cried the goblet of crystal so clear,
”My transparency shows my contents so dear.
Though fragile, am I, I will serve you with pride,
And I’m sure I’ll be happy in your house to abide.”
The Master came next to a vessel of wood,
Polished and carved, it solidly stood.
”You may use me, dear Master,” the wooden bowl said,
”But I’d rather you used me for fruit, not for bread.”
Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay,
Empty and broken it helplessly lay.
No hope had the vessel, that the Master might choose
To cleanse, and make whole, to fill, and to use.
“Ah! This is the vessel I’ve been hoping to find.
I’ll mend it and use it and make it all mine.
I need not the vessel with pride of itself,
Nor one that is narrow to sit on the shelf,
Nor one that displays its contents so proud
Nor the one that thinks he can do all things just right,
But this plain, earthen vessel, filled with power and might.”
Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay,
Mended and cleansed it, and filled it that day.
Spoke to it kindly — “There’s work you must do!
Just pour out to others, as I pour into you.”
Every day we face trials. Some are bigger than others, but all tend to stretch our faith, cause some pain, and test whether or not we really believe that the Lord governs each little area of our lives!
I was flipping through one of my old journals this evening and “stumbled” across some excellent notes from a message from Mr. Scott Brown we listened to on one of our trips last summer. I hope these are a blessing to you seek to trust the Lord as He sends each struggle into your life today. Remember that each one is a specially-designed tool for conforming you into His image!
“Trials are God’s gateway to far better things for your life.”
“Suffering is often the only way to victory.”
“Mighty trials, responded to in a righteous manner, will make you into a mighty individual for Christ.”
“The Lord often disguises blessings as disasters.”
“Your trials will either make you, or break you.”
“The kind providences of God often arise out of our worst failures and disasters.”
“Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.” Ecclesiastes 7:3
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28