Being without an Internet connection was probably the most difficult part of the whole adventure for me.
However, after a little bit of a fuss I realized that I needed to settle down and accept the situation. After all I was powerless to do anything about it.
Many think that the utility companies were the ones who had the control over who receive their services back and when, but I know differently.
Papa is always in control.
All that He allows, whether good or bad, is for a good purpose; often there are many layers of purposes involved.
His intention is always to bless.
I can easily see a few of those blessings.
The theme of the retreat that I took part in last week was Blessings.
We explored what the word means and where to look to discover them.
Blessings are gifts of God's grace.
They bring success, but not as we generally define the word.
True success is to be right with our God and to reflect Him.
As we dug into His Word we found that there are many blessings enfolded in page after page.
And as we reflected we realized that if we take the time, we will find blessings enfold in our lives constantly.
Now it is one thing to find them written in the Scriptures and an entirely other thing to experience them.
This reminds me of what Graham Cooke taught at one of his conferences.
He used a visual, actually two of them.
In the front of the sanctuary there stood two arches that were probably fifteen or twenty feet high. One represented knowledge and the other experience.
He explained that whether we encounter a truth through experience or knowledge, it needs to then be confirmed with the the second.
For example, should I discover a promised blessing in the Bible I then need to experience its unfolding in my life. And if I experience one in my life, I will also find the confirmation in His Word.
We cannot ride on experience alone, as it will become lifeless with time without confirmation and if we stop at finding it on the pages of The Book, it will be dry and lifeless.
As we spent some time in prayer and meditation a beautiful vision filled my thoughts and stirred my heart.
I saw Jesus walking alongside each one of us, as we traversed this life. Many things littered the path we had walked and much fell to the sides.
Every experience, every joy, every sorrow, every pain was represented.
All of it seemed to be ashes. The ashes were dry and lifeless.
As Jesus walked with us, He kept reaching into those ashes and gathering them into His Hand. He did not only reach for those representing a pleasant memory, but included each and every bit of that which represented the entirety of our life.
When He opened His Hand the ashes had been turned into something of beauty.
This brought to mind the beautiful verse in Isaiah Sixty-One, verse three in the KJV,
"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified."He intends to bring blessing out of all of it!
Isn't that exciting??
Once we have received a blessing it is our turn to share it. One of the woman at our retreat made the comment that to bless another is to be on the same page with God. I like that!
To bless is to thank, praise, affirm, extol, or exalt with joy. Who better to bless than our God who so generously pours out His blessings?!
From there it will be a joy to pass them on!
Being on a hunt to discover as many blessings as I can, both in the Bible and in my every day, I have started to register my discoveries in a separate journal.
It is amazing just how many there are and equally amazing how many I have been overlooking!
So what are some of the blessings that I realized that came from this past week of being energy-less?
The fresh discovery of quiet.
The realization that I have been trying to respond to too much of the stimuli that comes my way.
The joy of family without the usual distractions.
Did I mention quiet?
I am eager to learn what other blessings Papa has and will bring from all of it!