How is your summer? Have you had the opportunity to go on vacation yet? Hopefully, you have experienced a few grilled meals along with ice-cold watermelon and an occasional smore or two.
I am delighted to report Refining Ministries had a fruitful ladies retreat last weekend in Stephenville, Texas. We spent a little over 40 hours together learning and sharing ways to enrich personal Bible intake (plus laughing, playing games, eating, painting, crafting, and a wee bit of sleeping). We will continue delivering this training in the days ahead for churches interested in feeding into their women’s ministry because of the significant impact we have seen when participants experience the power of God’s Word.
One of my favorite parts of the event was the painting session. We had a local artist offer a class for those interested in attending. She had the ladies engage in designing a work of art which incorporated flowers. As I observed each canvas coming to life, God gave me a wonderful message I want to share with you.
The first thing I noticed was all participants were given proper supplies and tools. God does the very same thing. He generously provides His Word and the Holy Spirit as means for us to utilize. Our Father ensures His supplies will meet our every need and delivers top quality-ever lasting supplies to fully equip us.
Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9
Just like the instructions the artist gave; God gives us opportunities to learn how to comprehend and engage with His Word and grow to know the spirit within us. He lovingly gives us free choice to progress in our spiritual journey at the rate of speed we choose. This was so apparent as each lady listened and observed the instructor. The degrees of experience and levels of confidence were displayed in their first brushstrokes on the canvas. The comfort zones became very transparent.
For it is God who is working in you, [enabling you] both to will and to act for His good purpose. Philippians 2:13
I loved how each lady was fully supported and encouraged. You could feel an atmosphere of joy, relaxation, and sheer delight. The environment of struggle and worry was not present. Doesn’t this remind you of God? He always has our back plus He gives us unexplainable joy when we engage with Him. (I could stay right here and give you tons of analogies the Lord revealed, but I will move onward)
Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable-if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise-dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8
As I watched in amazement, the brushstrokes of each lady reminded me of the purpose God has for each of us. He uniquely designed the talents, likes, experiences, skills, growth, training, etc. for each of these women-in order for them to create their own personalized exhibit. Although they all received the same instructions and were exposed to the very same words of the instructor, their paintings were distinctive. WOW-I was reminded that God is not in the cookie cutter business. He fashioned everyone for a special part of His overall plan. He urges us to use what we have been given to present His love–so the world can be drawn to His beauty.
He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself. Philippians 3:21
We are His canvas! The brushstrokes we add to our inward and outward presentation will reveal the attributes of our sweet Lord if we humble ourselves to live under His authority. Our canvas can be a priceless work of art for the lives of others!
Who directs your brushstrokes in life?
My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. Philippians 3:10