“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NRSV
This week Minister Kathryn Johnson and I are privileged to be guests and participants at the American Baptist Women and Girls National Conference, “In the Potter’s Hands: Sculpted Vessels.” During the Conference we had the opportunity to share the purpose, goals and objectives of the COTAAN (Covenant Outreach Through Advocacy and Agency Networking – an aftercare ministry for women and girls returning home from incarceration, www.cotaan.org )program with the entire delegation. That is not the focus, however, of today’s blog.
Women from around the world – Burma, South Africa, India, Asia, America etc., all gathered together in Nashville, Tennessee to worship God and reflect upon what it means to be “sculpted vessels in the Potter’s hands.” One of the keynote speakers, Lois Olmstead, gave us a series of profound messages utilizing humor and wit to both charm and engage the audience. Her intriguing presentation took us along a path filled with laughter and imagery common to women, such as forgetfulness as we enter the menopause years. Her methods were very effective, causing us to relax and become open to the powerful words of wisdom she shared to assist us along life’s journey.
After drawing us into a space of receptivity, Lois challenged us with the following:
“If you want to be used by God…"
(1) Learn to love where you are : instead of spending all of your time wishing you were some place other than where the Lord has currently allowed you to be, learn the lessons of your place. God has much for you to receive before you move forward.
(2) Learn to be thankful: Resist the temptation to grumble and complain. Rather than focusing upon all that is wrong or all that you were not able to accomplish or all that you wish were different, begin to thank and praise God for what you do have. If you do, you’ll discover that the blessings of the Lord will over take you!
(3) Learn that things are not always as they seem: Avoid comparing yourself to others. You don’t know what they are going through nor do you know how or why they have what they have. If it appears that God is answering someone else’s prayers and not yours or that others appear to get everything they are asking for and you feel frequently denied, trust that God knows what He is doing in your life. In His time and in your designated season, God’s will, will be made manifest in your life.
(4) Learn to laugh at yourself: Lighten up! Find humor in your daily circumstances. Don’t be so hard on yourself
(5) Learn to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ: The most important “learning” of all. Sincerely ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, come into your heart and become the Lord of your life!
What a wonderful message! May you find grace, strength, hope and peace in Lois’ words of wisdom, assisting us in being moldable clay in the Potter’s Hands!
Post a comment of send me an email at Shepastor1@hotmail.com
August 23-25th, 2012 is fast approaching! If you have not already done so, visit www.wtimofgreatercleveland.org and click on “donate n register” to download the registration brochure for the “Empowering and Encouraging Women in Ministry Conference in Beachwood, Ohio.
Until next Wednesday, In Faith, Hope and Perseverance, Pastor Chris