September gave me opportunity to speak at three ministry events, each of which were such a huge blessing to my heart. Honestly, I am so very much in my sweet spot when I am standing on the speaking stage because it is what I was born to do. What about you? What does it look like for you to be doing what you were born to do? What is your sweet spot? I would love for you to share about it in the comments.
I shared a couple of weeks ago about the Come Awayretreat in THIS post. My final ministry opportunity in September found me in northeastern Georgia at Camp Pinnacle sharing with the ladies from Middle Georgia WMU (Women’s Missionary Union) at their annual retreat. It was such a sweet time as I shared the Legacy message with them. I also had the opportunity to share about Compassion’s Child Sponsorship program. Y’all, six precious children now have sponsors, and those sponsors have changed not only the lives of the children, but they have also given the families of those children hope for a better future for their child. Praise God!!
So, today in our study in the book of Revelation, we finish our look at chapter 12 by examining verses 13 – 17.
13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.
14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.
15 The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood.
16 But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth.
17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.
Let’s get our bearings for a moment. In this post, we learned that the woman represents the nation of Israel, the child is Jesus, while the serpent represents Satan. A while ago in this post, we learned that the phrase ‘a time, and times, and half a time signifies a 3 ½ year period of time. Also, in this post, we reviewed Scriptures that told the story of Satan’s fall from grace.
So, today in our focal passage we find the devil lashing out at the woman (Israel), but she is rescued by a miracle and hidden in the wilderness for 3 ½ years.
Verses 15 and 16 depict an interesting scenario of the serpent trying to destroy the woman by a flood that pours forth out of his mouth. Israel is helped by the earth when it opens its mouth and swallows the river. A reasonable question here is whether this will be a literal occurrence, i.e. a real flood, or whether this is a symbolic reference to how Satan will try to destroy Israel, yet again.
Commentator Warren Wiersbe believes that this ‘flood’ symbolizes an unprecedented wave of anti-Semitism. There is no way to know with certainty what this flood is, but one thing is certain….God protects His people and provides a miraculous way of escape for them. When Satan cannot attack Israel, he turns his fury on those believers in Christ who are alive in that day.
Although there is really no biblical evidence to support the idea, some have speculated that the place where Israel is sheltered for 3 ½ years is Petra, which is in the mountains of in country of Jordan.
You might ask when this takes place. I believe these events occur during the last half of the 7-year period of tribulation, or the 3 ½ years that might be called the great tribulation. I believe this 3 ½ year period begins at the sounding of the 7thtrumpet as detailed in this post.
Satan hates Israel because God loves her. Over the millennia he has tried many times to obliterate the nation of Israel from the face of the earth, but each time God has spared her. Satan will keep trying and God will continue to protect her until the hearts of the Jewish people turn to Christ.
Next time we will journey into Revelation 13. See you then.
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I knew, by the way the devil was fighting, that the Come Away retreat was going to be special. But, oh sweet mercy! It was so good and I am, honestly, struggling to find words to describe last weekend.
The battle over Come Away began weeks ago:
Registration lagged terribly. At the two month out point, only one lady had registered. I had sleeping space for 9 women at the retreat. One month out I canceled the retreat, then in the same week I had four ladies say they were planning to come. The retreat was back on!
Months ago God had been very specific regarding the cabin, Gleesome Inn, where the retreat would be held. When I canceled the retreat I also cancelled the cabin. So, when the retreat was a ‘go’ in August, I reasoned that I needed a smaller cabin. God said, “Nothing doing!” I had just enough ladies telling me they were coming to need the larger cabin, and guess what? Gleesome Inn was still available! I was now planning for five paid registrations, plus my helper and myself.
The week of the retreat arrived and my heart was so ready. The Lord and I had been preparing for months~~messages, music, food, schedules. I was certain it was all planned correctly….and for the most part it was. I felt such anticipation and excitement to serve the ladies who were coming. There were ladies I knew and a couple whom I had never met.
The week of the retreat one of the ladies emailed me and said that her husband was having health issues and she would not be able to come. My heart was so sad. She was new to me and I was eager to get to know her.
Thursday, the day the retreat was scheduled to begin, found me packing my car and preparing to drive the 30 miles to the city where the cabin is located. I had arranged for early check-in so we could get set up, pray over the cabin and women, and then rest a bit. At 11:15am I received a call telling me that the previous renters of the cabin had trashed it and I would not be able to check-in early. In that moment, I recognized the devil’s hand at work and knew I had a choice. I could get all controlling and upset OR I could roll with it, knowing that God had it all under control. I chose the latter and it was definitely easier on my gut and my emotions.
We arrived at the cabin around 3pm and began the set-up. The ladies were set to arrive at 6pm. Earlier in the day I had received a text message from one lady telling me that her young daughter was sick and she was likely not going to make it on Thursday night for the opening session, but that she would touch base the next day. On Saturday morning her child was still sick and she had to miss the entire retreat. This sister is a precious friend to me and I knew she was looking forward to being at the retreat, so for her to have to miss the entire retreat was a disappointment to both of us.
The Thursday night session was planned for 7pm, but God had other plans. One of the ladies had to work late and did not arrive until 9pm, while the remaining two women arrived around 6:30pm. My goal had been to share my testimony with the ladies on Thursday, but I delayed it until Friday evening, which was a much better fit with what I was teaching on Friday night.
We were privileged to be led in worship by Mike and Becca Medori on Friday and Judy Tipton on Saturday morning. Our hearts were encouraged and blessed by the worship. Even so, the struggle with this retreat was real, y’all. It was very real for all of us except God!!!!
The theme of the retreat was “This is My Story”. I taught from the stories of Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth and asked the ladies to begin writing down their story using worksheets I had created. I am quite taken with this theme and I hope the Lord will give me the opportunity to share these messages and plans in another retreat. It was POWERFUL!!
One precious woman came up to me after the Friday morning session and told me that God had been after her for over a year to tell her story. She had been resisting mightily, then, she comes to Come Away and the theme is all about creating her story. Only God!!
On Saturday night, I asked the ladies to share the stories they had been creating…their stories of how God has worked in their lives. It was such a precious time. There were tears, laughter, hugs, and prayer. Four wonderful ladies now have created their story so they can share them with other people. Y’all I could write so many words about how God showed up and showed off, but I think most of those words are for tucking into my heart. Here are a few pictures from the weekend.
One of the resources I always provide at the retreat is a list of my favorite books. This year I brought some of the books to the retreat so the ladies could look through them and read them in their free time each day. Here are some of my favs and links to a few of them on Amazon are at the end of this post.
I hope to have more to share with you about Come Away retreat in the coming weeks. This retreat is a bit different from other retreats because of the large blocks of time that I place into it for resting and spending time with the Lord and other women. I am currently seeking the heart of Jesus regarding Come Away 2019 and am hoping He gives me the privilege of hosting this retreat again…..maybe even twice in 2019.
Hey there friend!
I am so excited to be part of the speaker panel for the Woodstock, Georgia She Found Joy Event happening Sunday evening, October 7th at Venue 92. Let me tell you a bit about it.
As women, we don’t spend enough time with each other, let alone make time for ourselves to get away with God. She Found Joy provides the connection and soul care we all need by bringing communities closer to Christ in a time of food, fellowship and fun.
KEY HIGHLIGHTS // KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: Each event features handpicked, prominent speakers who share a unique message based on the tour theme and their personal story.
WORSHIP & MUSIC: Music is a big part of She Found Joy! Our goal is to have worship be presented in some format, and we love to partner with local artists to feature their work onstage.
COMMUNITY: Community is one of the cornerstones of our mission statement. She Found Joy gives women the chance to connect with other women in their community through a corporate meal, prayer and intermissions, which facilitate conversation.
FOOD & FUN: We love food and we love showering women with gifts to help them know they are loved! Each event features a gourmet dinner and free giveaways and/or swag bags to give our guests something to remember the night by. Lastly, we partner with local vendors making a difference in their community to give women shopping opportunities that not only enrich their lives, but also give back to others.
TOUR INFORMATION // 2018-2019: The theme for the 2018 National Tour is Courageous Faith, and we will be hosting the event in eight cities:
Jacksonville (FL), Woodstock (GA), Des Moines (IA), Fayetteville (AR), Southlake (TX), Elkhart (IN), Nashville (TN) and Raleigh (NC).
ABOUT THE FOUNDER LAUREN GASKILL is an author, speaker and founder of She Found Joy. She is passionate about encouraging women to fight for faith and keep hope alive. When she’s not writing or speaking, Lauren loves to cook, bake and go on hikes with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who is affectionately named Reese after Lauren’s favorite candy — peanut butter cups.
shefoundjoy.com // firstname.lastname@example.org
Tickets for the Woodstock location are on sale now and PRICES HAVE BEEN LOWERED. Y’all, if you are planning to attend, please purchase your tickets today so we can give the caterers an accurate number. Click the image below to purchase tickets.
I would love to see you there.
Hi there! Oh golly, maybe I should introduce myself?
I’m Leah and I own this little piece of the WWW. It’s nice to visit with you today.
I know it has been many moons since I posted last, and I while I probably should say, “I’m sorry for the quietness here”, the truth is, I am not. It has been a blessed rest for me….a respite from the tyranny of “I should write a post”. I have allowed myself the freedom to NOT write a post.
Today, however, I am popping back in here because I have a friend who is visiting with me and she is the B.O.M.B!
Her name is Jennifer Lee and y’all, she’s got a new book releasing this week. It’s all about CONTROL and I would just bet some of you might benefit from it…if you are a controller like me. It’s All Under Control: A journey of letting go, hanging on & finding a peace you almost forgot was possible has been such a blessing to me as I have had the privilege of reading it ahead of the release. Today, I want to allow Jennifer to pull up to my table and chat with you.
BIO: Jennifer Dukes Lee is the wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, and an author. She loves queso and singing too loudly to songs with great harmony. Once upon a time, she didn’t believe in Jesus. Now, He’s her CEO. Jennifer’s newest book, It’s All Under Control, and a companion Bible study, are releasing today! This is a book for every woman who is hanging on tight and trying to get each day right―yet finding that life often feels out of control and chaotic.
Be sure and hang on to the end of the post because there are copies of this marvelous book being given away and I want you to win one.
I know how this noisy world can get in the way of me hearing God’s still, small voice. So, in the past few years, I’ve been intentional about quieting the outer noise in my life.
My biggest challenge is silencing the inner chatter.
I know the value of resting in Jesus, but it’s like my brain won’t stop moving in fifteen different directions. Corralling my thoughts is like herding a nursery full of fork-toting toddlers who just learned how to walk and are weeble-wobbling their way toward electrical outlets on opposite sides of the room.
Take, for instance, one of the places where I go to escape the noise: my bathtub. I’ll toss a bath bomb in the water and sink into the warmth. There’s no TV. No iPhone. Yet even here, my mind is running on high gear. I often receive some of my best writing inspiration in the bathtub, which is why my friend Cheri gave me a set of child’s bathtub crayons. (Yes, part of my latest book, It’s All Under Control, was written on the walls of my tub.) So while it might look like I am resting, I’m actually still working.
God is reminding me that my brain needs rest as much as my body does. I loosen my mind by simply dwelling with him: “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4). If I have a lot of noise around me—even in the form of the silent iPhone scroll—I can’t hear God.
My friend Lindsay Sterchi, mom of twin toddlers, learned the hard way what happens when she doesn’t get the rest she needs. She told me, “Without rest, I’m not very fun to be around— just ask my kids and husband. I get irritable way too quickly. I lose perspective on the bigger picture of life, and the little things seem bigger than they really are. I get in this fog where I’m going through the motions of life but not really living intentionally.”
The answer for her: finding rest in small pockets of time each day. “Rest means that when the kids nap, or after they’ve gone to bed, I’m not going to zone out on TV or scroll through social media, which might seem restful but ends up being draining.” Instead, she does something that feels life-giving—without feeling guilty. Her escapes: reading a book, journaling, or simply being still, alone with God and her thoughts.
Maybe your escape is Netflix, and if that’s the case, you do you. But make sure it gives you life instead of draining your energy.
No matter what: make rest a priority. It’s vital.
Resting in God serves two purposes:
First, rest allows you to intentionally connect with God. God wants to meet with you, not simply to give you the day’s marching orders. He wants to be with you because he likes you.
Second, rest calms the noise around you so you can hear God’s clear direction.
Here are a few ideas to incorporate more rest into your life.
Instead of scrolling, go strolling. Everybody has time for rest. How can I be so sure? Because that’s the time we use to check social media. Put down your iPhone for the fifteen minutes you would’ve spent on Instagram and take a walk instead.
Don’t let your “yes” encroach on your rest. If you say yes to something new, evaluate everything else on your list to see what might have to go. Refuse to put rest on the altar of sacrifice.
Let your work assignments flow from soul realignments. If “everybody is looking for us,” our souls and agendas need realignment so we can hear clear directions from God.
Protect the freed-up time you have already created. God prunes all of us, but achievers try to immediately fill those pruned spaces. Protect the space that God created for you. Downtime is okay; in fact, it will make you more productive in the work you were designed to do.
Adapted from It’s All under Control: A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On, and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible by Jennifer Dukes Lee, releasing this fall from Tyndale House Publishers.
I’m so excited to be a part of a huge giveaway to celebrate the release of It’s All Under Control. Jennifer and her publisher, Tyndale, are giving away 50 copies of the book in celebration of its release! Enter below to win. Giveaway ends September 30. Winners will be notified by Tyndale House Publishers. Email subscribers can click here to enter.
It’s All Under Control 50 Book Giveaway
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
December 11, 2017….the last time I taught in this space from our Revelation study. Good grief! I have no idea what happened to cause me to lose my ‘Revelation mojo’, but here we are. To be very honest with you, I had not given much thought to picking back up with our Revelation study until I received an email from a new subscriber, Dotty, asking where the rest of the Revelation 12 teaching could be found.
That sort of cranked the engine on the part of my brain that writes and I discovered that I wanted to move along in our study. So, my lovelies, I’m not sure how often I will be back here writing on Revelation, but for today, we are going to look at Revelation 12:7-12, which is a pretty easy passage to understand. In it we see the ultimate throw-down take place.
Here it is, for your reading pleasure from the ESV:
7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back,
8 but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.
11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
In this passage, John is reaching back into time and reminding us of how we got to the point where mankind is today. He is retelling the story of the fall of Satan and his evil angels that is chronicled in Isaiah 14: 12-14 (ESV). I like to think of it as a throw-down that God smacked on Satan!
12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!
13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’
And in Ezekiel 28:12-19:
The word of the LORD came to me: 12 “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.
15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.
16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.
18 By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.
19 All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.’”
Although these two non-Revelation passages are speaking to the kings of Babylon and Tyre, there is a deeper meaning to them, and ultimately they apply to Satan.
In Revelation 12:7-12 John gives us a sweeping synopsis of the fall of Satan, which led to his banishment from heaven. This in turn led to his enticement of Adam and Eve to take a bite of forbidden fruit, which led to their banishment from Eden and the presence of God.
In order to restore relationship between God and man, AND to overcome the power of sin and death in the lives of man, Jesus Christ came to earth, died on a cross, and was resurrected on the third day. While Satan still has power on earth, he no longer has any power in heaven. Heaven is the Kingdom of God and one day, Jesus will rule and reign on earth.
Verse 11 also speaks of martyrs who have given their lives for sake of the gospel down through the ages.
I love how one portion of Scripture teaches, or confirms, another portion and today is a prime example of that. Soon we will finish chapter 12. Have a lovely day.