This weekend our daughter Heather and I went to Springfield, MO, for Forward Baptist Church’s annual women’s retreat, where I would be speaking. The drive there was incredible, with the mountains and the leaves changing colors to a beautiful bright red, burnt orange, and lemon yellow. Here is the scenic view of the Ozark river near Forsythe, MO.
The church’s women’s board chose a theme of “Not Guilty” for the retreat, with the scripture Romans 3: 23-24 (NLT): “For all have sinned: all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty.”
The board had ordered black tshirts for the women, with the words in bold white, “NOT GUILTY.” They played spoons & the game Bunko.
The board had a massage therapist come in to give the women a full body massage. The house where they stayed was just beautiful, with tall pillars, oil paintings, seven bedrooms, five baths, an indoor sauna room, and an outdoor whirlpool spa tub. The women said all weekend they had done nothing but prayed, cried, and eat lots of good food! It really blessed me to see the women’s board have such a heart for their women. God loves His daughters!
The tshirts had the numbers 4532324 [like prisoner numbers] imprinted on the front, to represent Romans as the 45th book of the Bible, chapter 3, and verses 23 and 24. They also ordered a black bag that looked very similar to the tshirt, pictured here.
The scripture God gave me for the retreat was Isaiah 49:16, “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.” Jesus took our guilt, our shame and our condemnation, and nailed it to the cross over 2,000 years ago. God also had spoken to me about the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, which I will be sharing about more in the following weeks, as well as Barlow Girl’s song Average Girl (No more dating, I’m just waiting, like Sleeping Beauty, my Prince will come for me).
I noticed while I spoke that the women would laugh sometimes, when I was not saying anything funny. One of the board members explained that I was sharing some of the exact same scriptures and words that she and the other board members had used earlier that day before I arrived, when they taught the women different classes. This showed them that God was orchestrating this entire event, since I hadn’t told the board members what I was sharing on or vice versa. Don’t you just love how God confirms His word and how He blesses us so much by showing up? 🙂
As I spoke, I shared the scripture, my personal testimony, and then about the fairy tale and the song. Throughout the night I was able to pray with several women one-on-one, who sought me out privately and who needed to just know how much Jesus loved them, that He had taken away their shame and guilt. Heather was also able to talk to some women and encourage them. I was very thankful for God’s presence and anointing this weekend. He is so good!
Afterward, we ate a delicious, catered bbq dinner and then Heather and I were able to watch their women’s “pajama pageant” that was done in the style of the tv show, So You Think You Can Dance? One of the board members, Becky, played the role of one of the show’s judges, Mary Murphy with her crazy, annoying laugh. She had her loud laugh down-pat. It was so hilarious! Winners received some nice prizes, such as pretty photo frames or a spa gift certificate.
Here are the awesome ladies at the women’s retreat in Springfield this weekend, wearing their “Not Guilty” tshirts.
Thanks to all of you who prayed for me for this speaking engagement! Your prayers mean so much! Remember, there is no more guilt or condemnation. Jesus nailed it all on the cross for you and me! We are forgiven when we go to God and receive it, believing in the finished work Jesus Christ did for us on the cross! I want to share the story with you from John 8: 2-11 (NKJV), that God gave me to encourage the women at the retreat:
“Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”