When I arrived in Pearland, TX on August 21 for a time of refreshing I prayed to God to lead me to a church that will help me do just that. He brought me to First Baptist Church in Pearland and has been ministering to me since the first Sunday I attended fellowship. But little did I know that God had already laid out a beautiful schedule of "refreshing" for me on October 11-14.
I have always acknowledged God's hand as He made ways for me and Ryan to relocate to the Houston area. I've prayed believing that God will allow us to start anew in this place. All this time I thought that God will help us start anew with our family life and our chasing after our dreams. But it wasn't until we sat in church listening to the Life Action Team minister to us that God made it so clear that it was our spiritual life that he wanted to renew!
In one of my quiet times before I even learned about the conference, God led my soul to Psalm 42 as it was exactly where I found myself in. I felt so parched and so thirsty for God's presence that every single waking moment I really felt what psalm 42 had described. Just as the deer pants for streams of water, my soul was also panting and longing and thirsting for the living God. It was exactly where I was, like when the psalmist in verse 4 mentioned that he remembers how he used to go with the multitude with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. I was missing that so much, just praising in fellowship with joy and thanksgiving in my heart. Not that I wasn't attending church, for I was diligently in church on Sundays but my heart was just consumed with other stuff. I wasn't experiencing full joy and thanksgiving in my heart! My soul was so downcast.
Our situation wasn't easy even when Ryan arrived from the Philippines. The kids are still there, we both were jobless at the time and only had $50 left to use until God knows when, we didn't have our own car to use since it was still left in California, we were staying with my uncle's family and can't chip in some money to help out with bills, our financial debt was huge, the car payment was 3 months late already, and so much more. Our circumstances left us even more desperate and empty and uncertain. We felt like the storm will never end. Our souls felt oppressed by the enemy. We were agonizing through our daily struggle to start anew in this place. Everything seemed too difficult and unsettled... until God called for us to be still.
Two weeks before the Thirst Conference started, God has already given us a miracle. I started with my new job and was able to put in hours enough to receive a paycheck. We were able to tithe again! (Praise the Lord!) God made possible the shipment of our car from CA to TX. He even went beyond what we've expected as He made it possible for us to have enough money to get a new set of tires and to get a needed oil change for less than what it should be (God led us to stores that offered huge discounts). On top of that, we were able to chip in a little money to help my uncle out with the bills and we were able to put down a deposit for the apartment we were going to move in to. God works in marvelous ways! Even more wonderful is how He takes care of His children, even the wayward, rebellious and most especially the THIRSTY ones.
The conference was scheduled on October 11-14, 2009 in First Baptist Church in Pearland, TX. This was the first ever Life Action Team conference I've ever attended and it was something God has really prepared for me. As much as I thirst for God's presence and moving in my life again, that is how much He's met with me during the conference and even more!
God has made me realize how much I needed to REMEMBER that He created me for HIS purpose and HIS glory, not mine. God opened up my eyes so that I remembered that my life's dreams here on earth - for myself and my family, are worthless. Our dreams have taken us so far away from our first love - GOD. It was shameful to stand before God with all our plans for this and that when all of it will be worthless in the end! I found myself hoarding treasures on earth and realizing that my heart has followed after the wrong treasures.
But God is a loving Father who always makes a way for us to be reconciled with Him. God has allowed me to REPENT for being unfaithful to Him. He has given me the chance to realize that I needed repentance for all the sins I've committed while I was going my own way. I had to repent for my selfishness, for my lack of love, for my pride most of all.
Malachi 3:7 was one verse I hold dear now that I've attended the conference.
"Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the Lord Almighty.
God has truly convicted my heart of how I haven't kept His decrees. But His invitation to RETURN to Him is the sweetest call of grace and mercy. I have never really realized until now that I have forgotten how loved I am by God. His ways are truly higher. And He has equipped His children with the kind of grace that brings His power into our lives! The saving grace He's given is also a sustaining grace that will allow us to not only RETURN to Him but also REMAIN in Him until He comes again.
This life we live is but a vapor and everything is futile. Our question should not be "What is God's will in MY LIFE?" but instead "What is God's will?" period. It's never about us... it's all about HIM.
I honestly thought that this Thirst Conference will leave me feeling quenched, but it left me feeling otherwise. It has instead left me THIRSTY with a different kind of thirst. Come to think of it, I'm left much more thirsty than I first was on the first day of the conference. This time, though, it has left me THIRSTY for MY GOD. The conference was not there to help me quench some thirst I have in my soul, but instead it stirred a deeper form of thirst that longs for higher things and holier things. The kind of thirst that will keep me running over and over and over again after my living Almighty Father's glory.
The conference has truly changed me. God has truly changed my perspective. I continue to pray and be confident in the grace He has supplied for me. I will continue to live for the desires He has given in my heart during this conference. A deeper desire to serve and not be served; to love and not be loved; to glorify God instead of seeking to be glorified by men; to focus on heavenly treasures that moth and rust could never destroy; to truly offer my life as a living sacrifice; to make giving of myself a personal matter where I will be willing to be made materially poor in order that I and others might be made spiritually rich!
"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:3-8) KJV
"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." (Jude 1:24-25) KJV