Let's make every effort.
Friends, I have been eagerly anticipating the women's retreat coming up September 16 and 17th! As I've been praying for our time together and I keep coming to Ephesians 4.
“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
MAKE EVERY EFFORT to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-16 NLT (emphasis added)
This passage of scripture is all that I pray for us as a body of women. That through receiving God's love through Jesus, we would live life worthy of God's signature; by hearing and obeying His call on our life. And the call for Christians is not individual or separate from His Body! We are meant to live out His call TOGETHER.
I love how immediately after Paul urges us to live life in God's will, he reminds us that it will take humility, gentleness and patience... With each other! Isn't grace what we really need in order to live a meaningful life connected to each other? Without grace for each other, we will remain isolated. And I'm praying that as a body, we will fight our flesh and the enemy; we will make every effort to live united.
When praying for the women in our church, I felt God urge me to pray for a clique free culture. One where our hearts are so full with God's love, acceptance and approval of us that we can't help but look outward to find someone else to bring in, love on and enter into their world. Unfortunately for a group of women, this culture is truly radical and unlike the world. This inclusivity is us, Normandy! God's heart for us is to love Him with all of our heart so that we can love each other as ourselves.
The second point I want to make is that at the Women's Retreat I really want us to go for it in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I mean lets really do what Ephesians 4:11-13 says. Let's equip each other through the gifts of the Holy Spirit! Let's come to God with pure hearts so we can hear from Him, not only for our own lives for for each other's lives! I promise you'll end up being more built up by focusing on others. That's the way the Kingdom of God works! It is truly more blessed to give than to receive. Let's go for it! Let's be free to make mistakes because we are gracious to each other and want His presence more than anything else.
I'm so excited friends! If you're on the fence about coming, take a chance, take this blog as a "sign" and just sign up for it! Can't wait to see you there. I am writing with tears because I truly love you more than you'll ever know!