Women’s speakers exhort women not to lose wonder of walking with God

EULESS?”Don’t Lose the Wonder,” warned former Texan Barbara O’Chester, noting the tendency to practice “treadmill Christianity” whereby “we walk but don’t go anywhere” in the Christian life.

The wonder of salvation should cause believers to recognize a miracle has occurred, whether the recipient is a 6-year-old child as O’Chester was when she became a Christian or a 100 year old. And the wonder of sanctification should remind believers of the importance of maturing, controlled and filled with God’s spirit, she said.

As a lifelong Baptist, O’Chester said she was the mother of three daughters before she realized what sanctification meant.

“It’s a great big word that we have let the Pentecostals take,” said O’Chester, encouraging those listening to give God control of their lives so that they might live victoriously.

Furthermore, O’Chester said God will be glorified as believers recognize the wonder of his sovereignty.

She recounted the various circumstances of her life that she still did not understand?spending 82 nights under police protection when her husband stood against the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi, taking a 45 percent pay cut when their Austin church faced financial difficulty, the pain of a child wandering in the world for 15 years before returning to full deliverance.

“God is good. Remember what he’s done in your life and how he has protected you,” she reminded.
Christians also need to rediscover the wonder of service, recognizing the privilege of serving the King of kings, as well as the wonder of Scripture, realizing the sacrifice of those who bled and died to preserve it through the ages.

“The book is still relevant and a lot more truthful than your morning newspaper which many of you devour.”

O’Chester turned to Proverbs 30 to remind women not to lose “the wonder of your spouse,” as God brings two different people of different backgrounds and personalities together for good, and the importance of treasuring their children at all times whether they create joy or pain, fun or frustration.

“Those of you who know me didn’t really think you were going to get out of here without hearing the wonder of submission,” she quipped. “Submission to the Lord puts order in our lives. Submission to your husband puts order in the home,” she said, further noting the need for submission to leaders and authorities as part of God’s plan.

Finally, the wonder of spiritual warfare causes the Christian to recognize there is a target on the believer after receiving Jesus as Savior.

“You get to fight for your king. It’s a privilege,” she said.

Speaker Lilliana Lewis of Austin shared how the parable of the lost sheep took on new meaning when one of her daughters escaped her notice during a playground visit while a preschooler. Drawing from Matthew 18:10, she encouraged women to be about their heavenly father’s business in seeking souls to be saved.

The incident involving her daughter rallied members of their church to pray for the child’s safety as police and firefighters sped into action during the search. As she knelt to pray for her daughter, Lewis said she was reminded of David Livingstone’s request that God would walk with him on the road he was walking following his wife’s death.

“We must pray as though everything depended upon our prayers,” she urged, quoting the advice of Salvation Army founder William Booth.

“Then work as if everything depended on our work,” she added. In the midst of such anxiety, God gave her a peace and calmness of spirit that allowed her to comfort other members of her family, Lewis said.

Just as the rescue workers had a strategy for finding her daughter, Lewis encouraged women to take advantage of the many and varied methods of sharing their faith in order to find lost souls.

“If you aim at nothing you hit it every time. Let’s not aim at nothing. Have a plan.

“God gave us this parable so we’d know how he felt searching for the lost. His heart breaks as he cares for those who are lost.”

Ultimately, believers who sow in tears are able to reap in joy, she said. When her daughter was found the police chief told them to go home and rejoice.

“‘This is the way we want every story to end,'” she recalled him saying.

Katie Dyke-Kinsey shared her testimony of losing a husband to cancer, then marrying again, only to find that her husband had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

“God is still in the miracle business and he has the plan for each of your lives from beginning to end.”

June Hunt of Dallas dealt with a common problem many Christians face in failing to forgive offenses. Pointing to Luke 6:27, she defined forgiveness as “dismissing the demand that others owe you something.”

Not only are Christians to “dismiss the debt,” they are also to “release resentment” that often remains. “It was a choice we made of whether we’re going to forgive people. We choose to release our resentment toward the offender.”

Hunt said forgiveness involves releasing rights to hear “I’m sorry,” and to not dwell on the offense or keep bringing it up.

“Let’s understand, forgiveness is not circumventing God’s justice,” Hunt added. “It is allowing God to execute his justice in his way and in his time. Forgiveness is not letting the guilty off the hook, it’s moving the guilty from your hook to God’s hook.”

She contrasted forgiveness, which can take place with only one person, and reconciliation, which is reciprocal.

“Forgiveness is extended even if it’s never ever earned. Reconciliation is offered to the offender because it has been earned.”

Refusing to forgive can be a block to salvation, added Hunt, relating accounts of several individuals who would not let go of an offense, ultimately refusing to trust in God. And yet, once forgiveness was extended, she saw others respond with joy over having been converted. She encouraged women attending the evangelism conference to extend forgiveness and share with others how Christ can change lives.

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