This week has been unseasonably rainy... It's hard to plan for this kind of thing but I have to say that this group has been SO great about it! We had plans to go to Varenna yesterday and it didn't work out so we thought about it today but as we were about to leave on the ferry the rain and thunder and lightening just poured down on us. Thankfully most of them were fine staying back and we just spend more time in the event room working on our fun projects. Some of them braved the weather and did go over for lunch to Varenna and wouldn't you know it... the rain stopped once they got over there for a while and they could explore a bit before it came back.
Tonight though we decided to brave the rain and whatever come may... because our dinner over across the lake is just one NOT to be missed! So we headed over in the rain and got in our 4 vans and were driven up the mountain to our friends restaurant, Al Veluu.
It wasn't the best night for sitting outside so they put us all on a long table inside and it was so cozy and the perfect setting for a rainy evening meal. I had to get a photo with the three of us teachers... but apparently we can't seem to take a "normal" photo... ever. :)
After dinner we were serenaded by Jeanne's kids (and one of mine) on the piano in the room.
Love that this group is all about working through the circumstances and having a GREAT time regardless of the weather. Tomorrow we are praying the rain AWAY so we can go out on the lake and enjoy Villa Balbianello and lunch at our favorite spot on the lake!
So here are Day 3 & 4 of the Pray. Wait. Trust... Devotional I put together for this retreat:
Pray… Day 3 ~ What Prayer Is Not…
This is just as important to understand. We should not pray forselfish gain. Prayer should be about the Lord and what He wants for our lives, and to draw us closer to Him.
Prayer is not a genie in a bottle… we don’t get to make “wishes” that automatically come true.
Prayer does not make demands. While we can make requests to God in prayer, we dare not make demands. God is the Creator of the universe and does not take orders from us.
Prayer is for our benefit, not God's. We need a relationship with God, available to us through Jesus Christ and engaged primarily through prayer, because we were made to function best when we are in a proper relationship with our Creator. Prayer is not a guarantee against suffering. There will still be trials in life…Prayer just puts us in communication with the Creator who then gives us His peace that passes all understanding… in the middle of our circumstances.
John 16:33 ”In this world you will have trouble"
1 Peter 4:12-13 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
We are so blessed to serve a God that cares about us. This is about a relationship, not a religion. God wants a relationship with you and is ready to listen when you call upon His name.
Because our God is holy, there is a barrier that exists between Him and us when we come to Him with unconfessed sin in our lives. Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
He knows our prayers before we even ask them, so what have you held back and not talked to God about?
What trial have you been through that you felt the Lord’s hand guiding you through?
Prayer is exchanging our temporary desires for God’s eternal wisdom.
Pray… Day 4 ~ Prayer is always available.
Prayer is always available to us, but far too often we turn to God in prayer as a last resort, not a first response. Charles Surgeon wrote: “Prayer is an open door which none can shut… Devils may surround you on all sides, but the way upward is always open, and as long as that road is unobstructed, you will not fall into the enemy's hand."
The Bible references several areas that hinder prayer:
- When we live according to our flesh, rather than in the Spirit, our desire to pray and our ability to effectively communicate with God is hindered.
- God’s word says that without obedience there is no blessing. Disobedience to God's word and unconfessed sin are a hindrance to answered prayers.
- We also can shut that “door” to God when we choose disbelief over belief.
- When we have any unforgiveness in our heart. Mark 11:25 Jesus says, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
We need to make sure we are coming to Him in prayer with a humble heart and confessing our sins. Once we have done that, we enjoy a clear and open channel of communication with God, and our prayers will not only be heard and answered, but we will also be filled with a deep sense of joy.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 ”Pray continually"
Luke 18:1 ”Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up."
Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
Jesus is the perfect example for us to look to on prayer. He showed us through His life that we must rely on God through prayer for the strength and wisdom we need. We also know from Paul in Ephesians 6:10-20 we are called to take up the “Whole Armor of God” because there is a Spiritual battle going on.
Here are the tools that God provides us to win the battle:
~ Belt of Truth
~ Breastplate of Righteousness
~ Shoes of readiness of the gospel of peace
~ Shield of Faith
~ Helmet of Salvation
~ Sword of the Spirit - Word of God
So ask yourself if that “road” upward is obstructed?
God is always working on behalf of His Children.
If you want to join us NEXT SUMMER right here on Lago di Como, Italy, you can SIGN UP for next years Art & Faith Creative Retreat on Saturday!
Have a GREAT day,