His Word is Perfect Power: Azmera Cambodia Haven Retreat (Feb 21)
Hebrews 4:12 (KJV) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Isaiah 55: 10 - 13 (NLT) The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.
It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up. These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name; they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.
Happenings: Karla led us in a devotional time focused on the power of God's word and in praying scripturally. She shared J. D. Walt's Bible Creed (https://www.seedbed.com/first-word-last-word-gods-word-final-word/). Please pray that we will be ravenous for God's word, hide it in our hearts, and allow it to shape our lives.
Beth shared Romans 8 and her desire for each woman to have tunnel vision for God, take captive any critical spirits, and find the freedom to rest and to be who God wants her to be. She led the volunteers in an armoring up exercise to prepare us to be warriors for attendees. In the brief evening session, she also reminded all of us that the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives within each or us. Pray that we will embrace this truth and be the servant warriors He has designed us to be.
At 2:00, the conference jumped into full swing as the attendees arrived. 20 had traveled together from Phnom Penh. Many of the attendees already knew each other, but everyone quickly embraced our sisterhood in Christ and community came naturally. The astonishing number of connections present showed us how God was binding us together long before any of us considered coming to this retreat. Praise Him for calling His children into unity and fellowship. Every retreat is a small glimpse of our eternity in heaven and it is truly precious. Each retreat begins with a short message, a sweet time of worship, the creation of a pinwheel centerpiece (which requires teamwork and is a fabulous illustration of the power of persistence in pursuing a goal), and introductions in Connection Circles. We'd prayed for the ladies to be open to one another and to God's voice and those prayers were richly answered. The room was abuzz with stories of how God is using each of these women and what they feel they personally need in order to continue doing His work well. Please lift them up to the Father.
After a scrumptious poolside dinner buffet, we rejoined for a bit of fun with a game of "Never Have I Ever". The room exploded with laughter as ladies raced to find new seats while also learning about one another. It's a wonder and a delight to remember that the God of the universe wants us to find true joy in being His child and in fellowship. Several women then shared amazing stories of God's guidance and provision for them to come to this retreat. We closed the day with a time of worship, stillness, and prayer. Praise God for laughter and fellowship.
Inspiration and Challenges: Prayer Warriors in Phnom Penh - There has been a lot of fear, uncertainty, and concern that attending the conference would put each of the workers at greater risk of contracting the Corona virus. Much discussion and prayer and many messages were exchanged as worries were expressed. Requests had been made to cancel the
conference or move it to Phnom Penh since a case had been identified in Sihanoukville and there are many more Chinese in the coastal city. But our God is an awesome God who wants us to take courage, to have hope, and to take the land He has promised. So, He put it on the hearts of His daughters in Phnom Penh to gather together to pray for guidance. They came with open hearts and minds to hear His word. They were given an image of themselves as warriors, fully armored and roaring with God's power, as they went boldly into battle for the people of Cambodia. They were given a clear message to take courage and to attend the conference to experience Him. This is the same image and message that Beth had been given as she prepared to speak at the conference and many of the songs chosen by Debi for our worship have lions about God roaring like a lion. One of the main intersections of Sihanoukville has a statue of golden lions, but our God is the Lion of Judah and He has this city and this country in His mighty hands. He deeply desires that these people would see Him and the women who boldly came to the conference are His tools to accomplish this purpose. His Word is going out and it's not returning void. Peace and Provision in a Time of Need - God has been drawing women to this conference for months and knew exactly who needed to be here. Last Monday, He put it on Sarah Joy's heart to attend. She's a busy mom serving in Malaysia and already had a full schedule for this weekend, but she boldly signed up for the conference and was put on a waiting list. Thursday night she received word that a spot had become available, so she booked a ticket and began rearranging her schedule to make it on Saturday. When she awoke the next morning, she discovered that the purchase had not been finalized due to a glitch with her credit card. Undeterred, she found another flight that would have her leaving that morning. She asked her sleepy husband if she could purchase that ticket and he agreed. So, she again rearranged her schedule, packed her bags and flew to Sihanoukville. While waiting in the visa line in Sihanoukville's small airport, she realized that she only had a little cash on her - 16 US dollars and some Cambodian riel. She met some backpackers and they assured her that she could use both currencies to pay for the visa. When she got to the line, she put both currencies on the counter and was a bit surprised that the cost of the visa took all but $1.00. She expected other attendees to also be arriving at this airport not knowing that everyone else had flown through Phnom Penh and took a 4.5-hour bus ride. So, she arrived at the airport expecting to see an Azmera sign or a resort shuttle only to discover that there was no transport available. She attempted to get more cash, but was unable to use her card at the machines. Unsure of what to do and with no money, yet with God's perfect peace that He would provide for her need, she considered walking to the hotel (well over an hour away by car). She spotted the backpackers, approached them, and explained her need and her mostly empty wallet. They agreed to let her join them in a taxi. When they arrived at the opulent resort, it was clear that they thought she was playing a prank. She explained a bit about the retreat and that through God's provision she wouldn't need any money for her stay here. The next morning, Sarah reflected on her rescuers. She discovered that Yani and Yaleleah are both variants of the name John, which means Beloved of God. The third backpacker, who'd had the money to pay for the taxi, was named Rich. When she realized she'd been between two Beloveds and one who was Rich, she believed that God had sent these angels to specifically provide for her and meet her need. Living in developed countries, most of us rarely find ourselves in true need. We rarely have to fully rely on God to provide for our immediate needs. This story reminds us that when we are doing what He has called to do, He will completely equip us and provide for even the smallest details. We can rest assured that He cares for us more than the lilies of the field. What an awesome God!
Intro to Khmer: God bless you - saum preah bratan por