Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Colonnade and shops in Bath, England

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Retreat!

Earlier this week, I took a few days of personal retreat. I've never really done anything like this before so it was an all new experience for me.

I prepared by assembling a stack of books I've wanted to read for a long time and a stack of CDs of some classic sermons, packing just the bare essential to be by myself for a few days and asking those who intercede for me to keep me covered in prayer. Of course, I took my camera. I was going down to Smith Mountain Lake and the leaves were at peak!

Well, I didn't read any of the books I took. Much to my surprise, I spent most of my time in prayer, meditation and reading the Scriptures. I worked my way, very carefully, through the Book of Romans. I also listened to a number of sermons by Martin Luther and Jonathan Edwards done so well by Max McLean.

It was sweet!

Quiet times were awesome. With no distractions (I had to drive 7 miles to get a WiFi signal once a day) and no schedules to keep, I was free to immerse myself in my studies and in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The weather was awful with the wind blowing things all over the place and the temperatures falling dangerously near snowfall levels. It didn't matter. I was inside and enjoying every minute of it!

For the first time in my life, I kept a journal. Here are a few entries:

3. Kelly and I have been married for almost 30 years. What a beautiful gift from God. I was humbled by His love for us and His grace shed upon us that He would bind us together so completely and bless us so mightily. When we met, we were both so young and so self-consumed. That He would bring us this far with such great patience and care is a moving thought. I wonder what we will look back on 30 years from now and see as areas we needed to grow in. Thank You, Lord, for saving us.

4. I just listened to Martin Luther’s “Here I Stand”. He says, in the middle of his response to accusations of heresy, “My conscience is help captive by the Word of God.” A powerful presentation delivered by a humble man at a crucial turning point in his life and, indeed, in all of history. Luther’s absolute dependence on the will and leading of God, expressed in his prayer the night before he gave his response, is a great lesson for all of us in how to approach any trial or temptation.

4. It’s pretty cold outside. They were calling for flurries this morning but none materialized. I’m not sure there’s a better way to spend a day other than what I’m doing. There’s a fire in the fireplace, I have a hot cup of coffee, the wind is blowing and there are white caps out on the lake but the sun is shining brightly and the sky is vivid blue. I’m sitting in an easy chair, looking out the window at a stunningly beautiful vista, reading the Word of God and praying. God is speaking quite clearly and His angels are ministering to me. This house is filled with the Holy Spirit. It is a safe place and the the folsk who own this place are a blessing. I pray mighty blessings upon them and their family. May this house always be a haven and a sanctuary for them and for each of their guests.

2. This undisturbed, undistracted time with God is precious and sweet. It’s an amazing way to start the day, knowing I have no schedule to keep and nowhere I’m obligated to be. It allows me to ramble through the morning and afternoon reading, praying and listening. Usually, by late afternoon, I’m ready to get active but, even in that, the activity lends itself to absorbing what has been happening throughout the day. Sometimes It’s hard for me to realize how much I need to be poured into in order to be able to pour out until get away from everything and slow down enough to hear what the Lord is saying. Vacation, as sweet as it is, isn't really the same type of break. I now see why Jesus would go off by Himself every now and then to pray and meditate. I realized, this morning, that I will know when it’s time to go home. God has kept me focused and immersed in His presence, this by the prayers of His saints. When His work is done in me for this retreat, He will send me home.

These are just a few of the entries. I had a number of thoughts each day.

I thank God for the gracious folks who allowed me to stay in their house. I thank Him for His mighty blessings on us at WBF and I thank Him for the wonderful things He is doing among us. What an exciting time!

Thursday afternoon, the sun came out, the temps went up and the lake got calm, turning a brilliant blue. I grabbed my camera and started snapping away:

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