Immanuel Baptist Church
Mailing Address: 8015 SE 180th St, Oxford, FL 34484-0649
352-502-3384 or 352-391-8515
10th Annual Ladies Retreat.
In the midst of uncertainty and confusion fueled by the pandemic worldwide, the political divisions and the instability of the economy, it is time to refocus our sights and energies towards the Word of God.
The 10th Annual Ladies’ Retreat at Immanuel Baptist Church held on Oct. 5, 2021 could not have come at a better time than now. This year’s theme was, “Stepping Out in Faith, Living the Life God Designed.” We find ourselves faced with challenges and bombarded by worldly influences that have far-reaching consequences for generations to come. Drop a pebble into a pond and it will create swirling ripples of water expanding outward. That point of impact or first step is of utmost importance. It can strengthen or undermine our faith.
The key verse in Psalm 37:23 says, “The Lord directs the steps of the Godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Like a roadmap, the Word of God gives directions, the routes to reach your destination and points of interest that will help you navigate your way.
A group of speakers (Linda Wilson, Abbie Earnest, Sharon Cummings, Mike and Crystal Maksou, Gale Smith and Gaye Martin) underscored the need for the equipped armor of God that will withstand the rigors of battle. Readiness to fight the enemy at all times requires preparation and a mindset that can overcome anything through the strength of Christ. The Bible speaks of that armor in Ephesians 6 – the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, the feet of the gospel of peace and the sword of the Spirit. Sharing intimate and personal experiences can be traumatic to some of us but rewarding at the end. After going through difficult and abusive family relationships, Abbie, Mike and Crystal had their lives turned around completely after trusting Christ as their Savior. They are now happily involved in ministries that help the downtrodden, the weak and the hopeless. Gale has a heart for reaching troubled children with the Wordless Book of Child Evangelism Fellowship. Sharon and Gaye are teaching women’s Bible classes while Linda Wilson and Lynda Rhodes are sharing their musical talents to the community.
One of the highlights of the retreat was a presentation of the different types of shoes that a person wears from infancy to adulthood. They are worn primarily to reflect the preferences and style of the wearer. However, it is also said that shoes represent our Christian walk. Are we easygoing, casual, or careful to discern what is fitting and proper? The fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 6 should be evident in the lives of Christians. If you say you are a Christian, are you really?
God said in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” As Christians, we are secure in His hands. We should not be afraid to enter the arena. There is a raging war for the souls of men. As someone said, having our feet fitted with the gospel of peace allows us to be ready to share the gospel with others at all times. Let our rallying cry be, “Onward, Christian soldiers!”
(A note of thanks to Linda Wilson and Carlene Jones, the organizers and coordinators of this retreat, the speakers, the table hostesses, the beverage servers, caterers, decorators, secretaries, greeters, the sound technician, the set-up and clean-up crews and most especially the 91 ladies who allowed God to speak to their hearts. Special thanks goes to Pastor David for his support and prayers for this undertaking. This retreat would not have been possible without the willingness and availability of the volunteers to do God’s work at IBC. To God be the glory!
Text and Photos by Ludy Harbaugh