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Winter Retreat 2016 Recap!

The Winter Retreat was such an amazing and eye-opening time of enjoyment for me and those of you who heard the many messages. I personally enjoyed the end of message two where the speaker spoke about giving the word of God and the life of Christ to the other believers in the church.

One of the many ways we can be made ready for the Lord’s coming is to carefully consider God’s word when reading it so we can gain a clear understanding of what we read and come that much closer to God. We must also bring what we enjoyed to the other believers in the meetings, and not bury the talent the Lord has given us, like the slothful slave in the parable in Matthew 25. In this way we feed the Body with the bread of life, the living Word, that the Lord has given to us, and we help build the church, His Bride, making her that much more mature for the Lord.

Acts 5:20 tells us to speak the words of this life – may we continue to speak his words of life to each other and to the world, being good servants of God and making preparations for the Lord’s second coming.

-SN

 

Something that I found to be really enlightening from the messages at the Winter Retreat was the fact that the Lord told us that He would, one day, come again. And not only that, but He wants us to be prepared for when that time comes. The Lord wants His Bride – us. He wants to be able to take us to Himself so that we would escape “the hour of trial,” the great tribulation, that will come upon the earth at the end of this age.

However, He cannot marry a Bride that is flawed or immature – the Lord wants a Bride that is mature, one that is fully mingled with Himself, and fully expressing Him. He has also not left us in the dark, wondering how we’re supposed to prepare ourselves for His second coming. Instead He has revealed, through His Word, how we can prepare ourselves for His coming.

One of the most important ways is to be nourished and beautified through the washing of the water in His Word, the Bible.

Another way is by being faithful to use the talents God has given each one of us. Everyone has at least one talent, which signifies a spiritual gift. We all have received grace from the Lord according to the measure of the gift of Christ (Eph. 4:7). The best way for us to use our talent is to care for others and become interested and concerned for them. I found this to resonate with me because it has been an aspiration of mine, and is also something that will accomplish God’s purpose!

We mustn’t continue to live selfishly and care only for our own spiritual growth. We are all a part of His Bride, and therefore we need to make sure that every part of the Bride is ready for Him. We need to make sure that our fellow brothers and sisters are being prepared, thus, we need to care for one another.

And what I loved most of all about the messages from the retreat is also that we must never stop growing in the Lord. We don’t have to stop after just a few prayers at set times; we can continue to be saturated with the Spirit every day and every moment. According to the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25, we need to have oil not just in our lamps (signifying our spirit), but we also need to be filled with oil in our vessels (signifying our soul). We need to constantly be receiving the Spirit to allow the Spirit as the oil to spread from our spirit to our soul.

May we all aspire to be the prudent slaves and the wise virgins. We love you, Lord Jesus. Amen.

-JR

 

The Winter Retreat last weekend was all about the Lord’s second coming! It was so refreshing to hear the different messages regarding this matter and being properly equipped for His return. I learned that we must have a seeking heart for Christ and the church. The Lord desires for us to be watchful and ready for when He comes back. In our daily living, we should redeem our time by spending time with the Lord to be matured in our walk with Him by and growing in the Spirit day by day.

Something that impressed and touched me was that the Lord is looking for some believers who are willing to allow Him to grow in them that they would mature in life. The beginning of the Lord’s coming will consist of His secret coming to the air, and during this time the firstfruits, the very first ones to ripen, will be raptured before the great tribulation to join the Lord in the wedding feast. After this happens, these firstfruits will come back to earth as an army to defeat the Antichrist.

The majority of the believers, those who are not yet mature and full grown in Christ, will pass through the great tribulation. This should serve as a warning to the believers to be alert and not stupefied by this age. We should be the ones who want to mature in Him and grow as the church! Knowing this, we should be the ones who hasten his return. He’s waiting for us to mature in life by constantly having a seeking heart for Him and receiving His dispensing. When He sees that the church, His Bride, is mature and full-grown, then He will come back. He will not come back for an immature child who is not finished growing.  God wants a full-grown, beautified, washed in the word, glorified, mature Bride!

I enjoyed this verse from 2 Peter 1:19 in the first message: “After we have seen and are clear about all these signs, we need to be watchful and to give heed to the prophetic word as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts.” We should live by eating and taking in the word of God, which is the light that shines in the darkness. The Word will bring us to love Him in a stronger way every day and seek His presence. It will cause us to be alert and watchful for that day when He comes in secret. We should not be distracted by worldly things! Our goal of living should not be for our work, our reputation, our families, or our education, but for the Lord’s return! We are only sojourners on this earth, and these things will pass away once He comes back.

Part of the second message covered scheduling our time to spend time with the Lord. He wants us to give our time to Him to earnestly seek Him and enjoy Him. One such way of doing this is waking up earlier to spend time with Him in the Word and to be revived in Him. We can read some verses, pray-read these verses, sing a hymn, call on His name, etc. Even if we have only ten minutes, we can give it to the Lord. When we read the Word, we can stop to enjoy it, taste it, and like good food, share it with others! The Word washes us of anything that might be weighing us down and causes our hearts to be refreshed. Praise the Lord! Redeeming our time helps our spiritual growth and builds up the church.

I appreciated that no one can obtain the filling of the Holy Spirit for us. We should desire to seek after the Lord; no one else can do it for us. The Lord is waiting for us to have an open Spirit and to actively seek Him. According to the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25, our spirit, our organ for contacting God, is the lamp that is filled with the Spirit as the oil. When we fill our lamps with oil, we will burn with the Holy Spirit that will eventually spread also into our vessel, our soul. We cannot gain the oil except through prayer and by spending time with Him in His Word and in the meetings of the church. We should pay the price daily for the gaining of more oil that He could fill our whole being!

Finally, I learned that we should not be fearful of His second coming, but we should love His appearing and be eager for Him to return. In 2 Timothy 4:8, Paul says, “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.” Loving the present age in 2 Timothy 4:10 is contrary to loving the Lord’s appearing in 4:8. We should love the Lord’s appearing and fight for His interests on earth today. Then He can return as the rising Sun to shine through the gloom of this dark age.

The last prayer in the Bible is uttered by the apostle John: “Come, Lord Jesus!” May we be those who echo his prayer and hasten our Lord’s return!

-CS