Rest and garden

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Opening session of our Spring Ladies' Retreat - Rested, Reconnected, and Restored. This session was RESTED and we focused on a listening prayer exercise called "The Garden of My Heart"

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  • ∆ Once again I want to welcome you here to this place! We’re excited that you’ve joined us for this retreat, but most of all, we’ve been praying for this weekend, for each one of you, and we are excited because we know that God has some great things planned for our time together.
    ∆ (for now we’re going to forget the Rescheduled part, ‘cuz we’re all here and that’s what counts!) Rested, Reconnected and Restored! That sounds pretty good to me! But before we can be restored, before we can even reconnect,
  • ∆ I think we need to take a little rest.
    I don’t need to be a prophet to know that many of you will be feeling tired and probably had to battle to get here this weekend. I also know, that some of you might be beating yourselves up now because
    ∆ maybe you snapped at someone or cracked a bit under the stresses and challenges of getting here tonight. Do you know why I know ???
    ∆ Because I’ve got the ‘T’ shirt….been there, done that. So having fessed up to that, what do I do with it….do I let it ruin my evening/my weekend?? I can, if I choose…..but you know what, I prefer to take another route. Because if I don’t, I know the enemy will also make a choice…and his won’t be as nice as mine…
  • ∆ He will make sure that seeds of doubt and misery and disappointment grow in my heart, spoiling God’s plan for this weekend.
  • ∆ And what is God’s plan? To bless you with a wonderful amazing time of intimacy with Him, to refresh and restore you. So, it’s not rocket science to me...it’s an easy choice. Who shall I let loose in my mind and heart this weekend? There’s only room for 1 there, and I think our Lord has a better plan, so I’m sticking with Him!
  • ∆ This evening I’d like to help you to focus on that first theme, Rested.
    We, as women especially, are not natural ‘resters’, are we? We’re very good at doing lots, and at always doing something.
    But, resting doesn’t mean doing NOTHING, necessarily, does it?
    ∆ Resting also doesn’t imply laziness, either. In fact, resting requires us to actually do something different than we normally do, since none of us are very good at resting in the first place. I believe rest is something that we all know we need – and the Lord is pretty clear on this (taking a rest day IS a commandment after all). There are plenty of scriptures that talk about this.
    ∆ Rested. What does it mean to be rested, anyway? At peace, having a sense of ease and refreshment as produced by sleep? Well, that’s a good start.
    Rest is also giving ourselves, our minds and our bodies a break, isn’t it? Rest is required for us to be able to grow, thrive, serve and love. So we know it’s important, but we may not know how to get really rested. In our busy lives, even after a good night’s sleep, we may still feel like we’re tired and in need of MORE rest. What are we to do, then? We have to find ways to rest even in the midst of the busy-ness.
    ∆ As followers of Christ, we know that TRUE rest is the peace, ease and refreshment produced by the Holy Awesome Saviour of the World. There is no true rest from worry, strife, anxiety, depression and pain except through Jesus Christ.
    Now, we obviously cannot expect this day and a half retreat to physically or emotionally rest anyone! Only God can do that miracle, if we’re willing to enter into the rest He offers us here.
  • ∆ In the short time I have with you this evening, I would like to help connect you to our source of true rest, Jesus; to bring you into a restful place with Him to begin our time here at the retreat together; and to show you something you can use anytime to snatch a few moments of rest.
  • ∆ Natasha and I just sang, “I want to sit at your feet, drink from the cup in your hand, lay back against you and breathe, feel your heart beat. This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand. I melt in your peace, it’s overwhelming.”
    Doesn’t that just sound lovely? To melt in the peace of the Lord’s presence, and be overwhelmed by His love!? I love that feeling!
  • ∆ One of the most restful things I have ever done has been to sit in the presence of the Lord and let his love, and goodness, and peace wash over me.
    ∆ In Exodus 33:14, The LORD said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." He says right there – My PRESENCE will give you rest.

  • ∆ And, of course, Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
  • ∆ Most of us are familiar with Joyce Meyer, and she writes, “If I’m tired, weary, frustrated, or bothered about something, and I become refreshed after spending time with God, then I know the wind of the Spirit has blown on me… God wants to bring refreshing into your life. Don’t be frustrated or worn-out in your soul when the answer is living inside of you.” She also says that we need to “Learn to come away from the busyness of life to spend time with God the way Jesus did… [to] be quiet in His presence and be refreshed in an amazing way.”
  • ∆ One of the ways that the church has historically experienced the presence of the Lord is through Prayer, and most specifically, through Listening Prayer – i.e, not just throwing our prayers at God, praying TO God or AT Him, but actually listening, with our ears, with our hearts, with our souls, and with our minds, listening for what it is that He wants to share with us. There are many different ways to experience Listening Prayer, and the one I want to introduce to you tonight is called, “The Garden of My Heart”.
  • ∆ The Garden of My Heart
    Now I’m not a natural gardener. My thumb isn’t black, but it’s not quite green either. I forget to water things, I chose pretty flowers but plant them in the wrong places, and in general I just don’t keep up well with weeds and such.
  • ∆ But oh how I love gardens! Orderly vegetable gardens, crazy wildflower gardens, sculpted Japanese gardens, tiny indoor gardens, lavish castle gardens, all kinds of gardens.
    ∆ Walking in gardens, sitting in gardens, singing in gardens, even working in gardens. And it’s easy for me to find God in any garden. It’s not a big stretch.
  • ∆ After all, life started in a Garden – Eden.
    God created and was VERY present in that Garden.
    Not only that, the kingdom of God is often described as a garden:
    ∆ Isaiah 58:11b “You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
    ∆ Jeremiah 31:12b says, “God’s people will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more.” No sorrow in a garden. Brings to mind pictures of Heaven, and Eden being restored. WOW!
  • ∆ Jesus talked about gardening, a lot even… In John 15:1, Jesus referred to Father God as ‘the gardener’.
    He told stories about planting seeds. In Matthew 13, Jesus shares the parable of the farmer sowing seeds in different kinds of soil. He even talks about seeds being planted in the hearts of men.
  • ∆ In addition to his stories, Christ often retreated to a Garden to “rest, reconnect and restore”. If Christ went to a Garden to be closer to the Lord, it makes sense that we can too.
    ∆ We also see this theme in all kinds of literature and art. Christian authors, poets, and songwriters, including Charles Spurgeon and William Young to name just 2, often use the “Garden of the Heart” imagery.
    So the garden analogy isn’t a new one, and I think it applies well to our hearts………
    But what do I really mean when I say “The Garden of the Heart”…………..
    ∆ Put together, the imagery of a garden in your heart is just an illustration of the work the Lord is doing in your life. It’s another way of looking at what He’s doing in your faith walk, and we all know that the heart represents the very core of our lives.
  • ∆ “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 NASB) According to the Vines Expository Dictionary, the “heart” stands for the inner being of man, the man himself. As such, it is the fountain of all he does (Prov. 4:4).
  • ∆ Author Audrey Jeanne Roberts has written a book called, “Walking with God in the Garden of My Heart.”
  • ∆ She writes, “Did you know that your heart is God’s Garden? He loves making it a beautiful, fragrant and fruitful place. Amazing, such work isn’t drudgery to Him, but a task that brings Him great joy…”
    He’s working in my heart and He likes doing it! That sounds fantastic and exciting to me.

  • ∆ The Garden of my Heart is an example of Listening Prayer that you can use almost any time to retreat into the Lord’s presence. Jesus wants to meet you there! He’s already there waiting for you. This session has the potential to change your life for good, forever. I want to help lead you on a tour of the garden in your heart, but before you look at your heart, I want to tell you about my experience with listening prayer and a little bit about my garden.
  • ∆ I love listening prayer. It truly is a conversation with God. The Lord says, in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” That’s exactly what it’s like.
    Jesus shared in John 10, “The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. … and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. … his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” Obviously, Jesus is the good shepherd and we are his sheep.
  • ∆ Brad Jersak, a pastor and teacher in BC, has written a book called “Can You Hear Me: Tuning in to the God who speaks.” About this specific passage of scripture, he writes: [red tab in Brad’s book]
  • ∆ Very rarely do I hear the Lord in an audible voice, though it has happened a few times. But usually I ‘hear’ him in pictures or thoughts in my head. I wasn’t very good at it at first. I got some funny pictures or phrases sometimes, and I didn’t always believe what I was seeing, so I learned quickly to ask Him for clarification. Often those funny pictures have special meanings for me, and the better I get at listening, the more I trust the sometimes strange things He gives me.
    I have a very vivid imagination, as you may or may not know, and I always want to be sure what I’m hearing or seeing is really from God. So, I just ask him, “God, is this from you, and what does it mean?” I may not always get an immediate answer about what it means, but He usually makes it clear if it really is from Him or if it’s just me imagining things on my own.
  • ∆ Randy Alcorn, in his book “Heaven” says, “Rather than ignore our imagination, I believe we should fuel it with Scripture, allowing it to step through the doors that Scripture opens.”
    C.S. Lewis said, “While reason is the natural organ of truth, imagination is the organ of meaning.”
    And in the words of Francis Schaeffer, “The Christian is the really free man – he is free to have imagination. This too is our heritage. The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.” [I don’t know how much you know about Schaeffer, but he was a fairly conservative Christian, a back-to-basics kind of guy, and a real thinker. He always started with God’s revealed truth. But he has exhorted us to let the truth fuel our imagination. Imagination should not fly away from the truth, but rather fly upon the truth.]
  • ∆ See, that’s kind of what “The Garden of My Heart” listening prayer is – letting God use our imaginations to show us things we might not see otherwise. And we might not see them because we’re too busy with regular things, and we don’t take the time to look or listen.
  • ∆ A friend of mine, and fellow ministry leader, named Lynn Forrester first introduced me to the idea of The Garden of My Heart in November of 2008. I was very much in need of rest the first time I visited my garden, and I really had no idea what to expect. Lynn shared a bit about her garden, and as I began to visualize mine, I hoped for some of the same things she had in hers.
    ∆ For instance, in her garden there is a grand pond. [Lynn grew up in South Africa so even the way she said it with her accent sounded lovely – a GRAND pond.] A pond sounded very very cool to me. So as I walked through my garden with Jesus, I asked Him if there was a pond for me too.
    ∆ Alas, I have yet to find a pond in my garden… no pond for me. I do have a stream and a fountain, and many other things, though!
  • ∆ No two gardens will look the same, because no two of us are the same. The work he’s been doing in my heart is very different than the work he’s been doing in yours, because even though we’re on the same path, we’re on very different journeys in our faith. Our gardens will be different sizes, have different things in them, and those things may mean different things to each of us.
  • ∆ The first few visits to my garden were really just tours exploring through some of the parts of the garden. And just being in the presence of Jesus in such a personal way has brought wonderful peace and rest for me, and I know it has done the same for so many of the other women I know who practice this exercise.
  • ∆ On other visits, he’s invited me to participate in some of the gardening going on, cleaning things out, weeding, even taking out things I thought I liked or were good things, and that’s not always easy! But I always end my time in the garden with Him feeling so refreshed, and very personally touched.
    Just a note - there’s never been anyone except Jesus and myself in my garden, and I know that Jesus is safe and good and loving, and that I can trust Him.
    Also, just so you know, Derra, Michelle and Connie have participated in this specific Listening Prayer exercise as well. In spite of some initial skepticism, each of them had powerful, meaningful, personal experiences with Jesus. Others here may have experienced similar encounters at prayer conferences or in their personal prayer lives. This isn’t a new idea.
  • ∆ Now, as we begin tonight to focus on the garden of your hearts, I want you to think about a few things.
    What sort of seeds and plants do you think God has planted in your heart? What kinds of decorations might you find there?
    What kinds of things do we normally think about being in our hearts? Your dreams, your hopes? Do you suppose He’s put these things in your heart and given you the things you need to be fruitful in your life, the pieces necessary for the plan He has for your life?
    Do you think He left anything out?
    He says, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
  • ∆ OK, so let’s get to it. This is how the exercise works. In a moment, we’re going to get comfortable, relax, close our eyes, and use our imaginations.
    We don’t always remember how to relax, so that alone may take us a few minutes to accomplish, and we’ve forgotten how to listen to and use our imaginations. We were good at it as children, but we’ve gotten out of practice. We don’t always trust our imaginations, and don’t want to get carried away.
    But we’re not imagining on our own. Tonight our imaginations are combined with our ability to hear the Lord, even if you think you’ve never heard from Him before. Remember, He is our good shepherd, so we know the source is good!
  • Now, here is an idea of how this goes:
    ∆ Step 1………find a quiet place
    Step 2 ……pray…we will bind our wills, hearts, minds, and spirits to the Lord.
    Step 3 …..activate mind………….we’re just going to ask, “Lord show me the garden of my heart.”
    Step 4…simply journey with Him……..explore this place He’s created for you.
    It’s time for us to let our best friend, Jesus, show us what our wonderful tender heavenly Father has planted in our hearts.
    ∆ So now its your turn, you may want to have your journal and pen ready (though many don’t need them), get comfy, move around, need space ok, don’t have to sit next to friend for this.
    I will have music playing just in the background, and I will help lead you in this time. I’ll be praying with you the whole time as well!
  • ∆ I do ask that you give this a try, and if you happen to find that you’re stuck, or that you feel like you’re not hearing anything, that you just enjoy some rest during this quiet time in a safe place. Even if that’s all you do, there’s value alone in that. You might also find that you’re just plain tired and have fallen asleep, that’s OK, too. Jesus will meet you wherever you are. We have leaders available here to pray with you should you find that you need some extra prayer afterwards as well.
    So, as much as you’re able to here in this place, let yourself get comfortable, either sitting, lying, reclining, etc., close your eyes and breathe deeply through your nose several times, and just relax. Don’t worry about the people around you.
    [Put on cd…..(Christian no words)]
    ∆ Join me as we begin with Prayer.
    Prayer: Father I ask that you bind my will to your will, my heart and soul to the heart and soul of Jesus and my spirit to your Holy Spirit. Let the voice I hear be only yours and the images I see be only from you. Protect me as I allow myself to be vulnerable in your presence. Please meet me in this place and help me to focus on you now. I might feel a little unsure, but I choose to trust you, Jesus. I come boldly into your presence and commit this time to you. I invite you to join me in the garden you have prepared in my heart. Walk with me in that special place. I’m excited to see what you’ve planted and what is there. Amen.
    Now, there’s no other place to go, there’s nothing else to do – just let yourself “be” right now. Continue to breathe deeply and start to feel your body relax.
    Ladies, I’m going to lead you for the first couple of minutes, then I will give you about 20mins to have space with Jesus. We have prayed and given this to Jesus, so lets go for a walk with Him.
    Again, If any of you would like to talk or pray afterwards we have several team members happy to pray with you 
  • ∆ ∆ Begin to imagine your garden….it may look familiar or it may not, that’s okay, start walking and ask the Lord to show you around….be peaceful and start your journey
    ∆ Sit (or lay) quietly and ask Jesus to bring you into the Garden of your heart.
    ∆ Perhaps there is a gate or a path that leads there. What does the entrance look like? Feel free to look around!
    Jesus will likely not lead you inside, or follow you inside – but he’ll probably walk WITH you, side by side. He may take your hand, or wrap his arm around you, or simply walk beside you as you enter together.
  • ∆ If you discover that you’re carrying something (a pack, a purse, anything), you may need to leave it at the entrance. Leave your thoughts and burdens outside the garden. You can choose to pick them back up again when it’s time to leave the garden.
  • ∆ You can use all your senses in the garden – see, hear, touch, taste, smell. And there is always something growing in the garden of our hearts – there is always something coming up, springing forth, and blooming! So there can be lots to see and smell.
    ∆ Things you might do in the garden –
    Walk, sit, look, dance, sing, lay down, skip, run, laugh, dig, plant, weed, water… almost anything.
    ∆ Things you might see (Garden type things) –
    Flowers, grass, trees, paths, garden ornaments, water, plants, fruit, veggies, shrubs, other objects.
  • ∆ ∆ Ask Jesus what He wants to show you, where He wants to go with you. You may just walk and walk, or you may find something to stop and spend time at, looking at more closely, perhaps even dig up or somehow deal with something.
    Ask Jesus what those things mean, or represent.
    If He asks you to dig something up,
    Ask Lord, ‘do you want put something else in that place?’, so that weeds don’t grow back there.
    He may have you replace what you took out with the Love of God, or maybe with forgiveness…. Or with something else, even a garden kind of thing such as a plant.
    Remember, if He shows you something to dig up, you might find buried treasure!
    Mostly, tonight, Jesus just wants to show you around this Garden in Your Heart – explore with him!
    (*pause*)
    If you feel at any point like you’re stuck, keep talking to Jesus, ask Him questions, keep praying. Also, if you need some direction, you can have a look at the screen and you’ll see some tips and reminders to help guide your thoughts.
    (*pause*)
    Just a couple more things ladies, and then I’ll leave you to explore with Jesus.
  • ∆ ∆ It’s hard for me to get distracted in my garden, because Jesus is so captivating, and I love what He shows me. But if other thoughts start to creep in, ask Jesus to take them away, or to show you where to put them for now so you can focus on Him and on Your Garden.
    (*pause*)
    ∆ The Garden is bigger than you might think – even when we’re done today, there’s always more to explore. And you can come back!
    Now, continue to explore the Garden of your Heart with Jesus.
    *[ cycle through slides 32-35 (In Your Garden slides)
    If people start to weep, that’s ok…don’t rush in…let them do their work with Jesus….just have someone go quietly along side if it gets disruptive. If a Kleenex is warranted offer it quietly then move on. It is OK to let people cry.]*
    To conclude…………
    Ladies we have a few more minutes to spend in our gardens now…
  • ∆ As this time draws to a close, Jesus may take you back to the entrance or he might not. Thank Him for meeting you here and let him know how it has made you feel. Tell Him what your favorite part was. You might even ask Him what His favorite part is.
    *(pause)*
  • ∆ Spend a few moments worshipping and praising and thanking Him. Hear Jesus invite you to come back again – He loves to meet you here in this special place.
    Finally, ask what He wants you to take with you as you leave – it could be something he wants you to keep, or something that needs to be removed from the garden. It might be an image/picture, a word or phrase, a feeling.
    [After 3-5 mins….]
    Take a few deep breaths through your nose again, and slowly open your eyes. You can stay where you are, or begin to sit up slowly. How do you feel? For some of you, this time was far too short and you could stay in your garden for much longer, while for others this time may have felt too long.
    ∆ Either way - Thank Jesus again, because He is SO good!
  • ∆ ∆ Ladies, this little exercise can be done in all situations….
    ∆ The next time the kids or your husband tick you off…take yourself into your bedroom and ask the Lord to show you what’s in the garden of your heart.
    ∆ The next time your boss is disrespectful….take yourself off to the washroom and ask God….what’s in my heart.
  • ∆ ∆ ∆ The next time you are in the grocery checkout and you feel irritated with the cashier or the people in line….right there, ask Jesus to remind you of the restful place He’s made in the garden of your heart.
    ∆ This exercise can be as long or as short as you like………….. I take little journeys to this special place when I can, but I LOVE to sit and soak and rest in this place for a whole afternoon if I can. You can ask Jesus to go there anytime (and you don’t need me to guide you into or through this exercise).
    ∆ And I can almost guarantee, above all else, that it will change your heart 
  • ∆ As we close the session tonight, I hope you do feel a bit more rested and refreshed. You may find the need to remain still and quiet for a while. Some might like some time to write down some of their journey so as not to forget some of the details. Others of you may feel very much like you want to share some of your garden experience with others – and we’d LOVE to hear about your special time, if you feel like talking about that now and/or later through our time here. But please do respect those who feel they could use some space and allow them the quiet time they need.
    Others who would like to share or simply move on from this time, feel free to gather quietly at the other end of the fort, or enjoy fellowship at the fire pit, in your cabins, or anywhere in between.
    Also, be mindful that some of you may have had beautiful walks with Jesus, and others may have discovered some things that weren’t as easy to enjoy. As well, some will have experienced a lot of detail during this time and many sights and sounds, whereas others may have just been given a single picture or phrase during this time.
    No one’s experience tonight is better or worse than anyone else’s. It has all happened for a reason, and we need to respect the place where each person is. Again, we have team members available to pray with you if you’d like that.
    These garden experiences are very personal, so keep in mind that if someone does share with you, it is ONLY theirs to share, and not yours to pass on to someone else without permission. It just goes back to what Michelle said earlier about the respect and confidentiality of our time together.
    That being said, please feel free to ask me any questions you have about my personal garden experiences – I’m happy to share! And enjoy hearing each other’s stories about your time tonight as well.
  • ∆ Also – a quick REMINDER: Remember, breakfast tomorrow morning is at 8:30am at the Lodge (follow the crowd!) and when you hear singing in here it will be time to begin our morning session together!
    Thank you ladies, and bless you!
  • Rest and garden

    1. 1. Rested, Reconnected and Restored The Garden of My Heart WELCOME Friday Night: Rested by Raylene Wall
    2. 2. Need a little rest?
    3. 3. To Bless You To Refresh You To Restore You
    4. 4. Rested Being at Peace? Sense of Ease? Refreshment Produced by Sleep? TRUE Rest Peace, Ease and Refreshment produced by the Holy Awesome Saviour of the World No TRUE rest without Christ Jesus Rested
    5. 5. Tonight  help connect you to our source of true rest - Jesus  to bring you into a restful place with Him to begin our time at the retreat together  to show you something you can use anytime to grab a few moments of rest.
    6. 6. ♫ The More I Seek You ♬ I want to sit at your feet, drink from the cup in your hand, lay back against you and breathe, feel your heart beat. This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand. I melt in your peace, .
    7. 7. Love, Goodness & Peace The LORD said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Exodus 33:14 Presence
    8. 8. Joyce Meyer  “If I’m tired, weary, frustrated, or bothered about something, and I become refreshed after spending time with God, then I know the wind of the Spirit has blown on me… God wants to bring refreshing into your life. Don’t be frustrated or worn-out in your soul when the answer is living inside of you.”  “…learn to come away from the busyness of life to spend time with God the way Jesus did…[to] be quiet in His presence… and be refreshed in an amazing way.” taken from Hearing from God Each Morning – 365 Daily Devotions by Joyce Meyer
    9. 9. Presence through Prayer ears hearts souls minds
    10. 10. The Garden of My Heart Listening Prayer
    11. 11. Gardens
    12. 12. Gardens Isaiah 58:11 Jeremiah 31:12 “well-watered garden”
    13. 13. Gardening Imagery
    14. 14. Garden Imagery An illustration of the work the Lord is doing in your life
    15. 15. The Heart “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 NASB) The “heart” stands for the inner being of man, the man himself. (Vines Expository Dictionary) As such, it is the fountain of all he does. (Prov 4:4)
    16. 16. God’s Garden in Your Heart
    17. 17. God’s Garden in Your Heart “Did you know that your heart is God’s Garden? He loves making it a beautiful, fragrant and fruitful place. Amazing, such work isn’t drudgery to Him, but a task that brings Him great joy…” ~ Audrey Jeanne Roberts
    18. 18. The Garden of My Heart Listening Prayer
    19. 19. Jeremiah 33:3 - “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jesus in John 10 - “The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. … and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. … his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
    20. 20. The Lord is making a point about his voice: he has one. He uses it. He speaks. His sheep – those who have ears to listen – hear it, know it, and follow it. … Note that Jesus did not say, “My prophets hear my voice.” He didn’t say, “My pastors hear my voice.” And he did not say, “Only the spiritual people hear my voice.” But rather, “My SHEEP hear my voice. According to Jesus, the only prerequisite to hearing the voice of the Lord is simple membership in his flock. That means you can hear it too! Note also that Jesus did not say “might hear,” “could hear,” “should hear,” or “would hear, if only.” “My sheep DO hear my voice,” he asserts. It’s just a fact. Jesus claims to be the Good Shepherd who speaks and his people to be the flock that hears his voice.
    21. 21. “Rather than ignore our imagination, I believe we should fuel it with Scripture, allowing it to step through the doors that Scripture opens.” “While reason is the natural organ of truth, imagination is the organ of meaning.” “The Christian is the really free man – he is free to have imagination. This too is our heritage. The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.”
    22. 22. The Garden of My Heart Listening Prayer letting God use our imaginations to show us things we might not see otherwise
    23. 23. Your Unique Garden
    24. 24. The Garden of YOUR Heart  What sort of seeds do you think God has planted in your heart?  What kinds of decorations might you find there?  He planted IN YOUR HEART your dreams, your hopes, the things you need to be fruitful in your life, the pieces necessary for the plan He has for your life  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
    25. 25. How this works  Get comfortable, relax, close eyes, use imagination  Not imagining on our own – combined with our ability to hear the Lord, EVEN IF YOU THINK YOU’VE NEVER HEARD FROM HIM BEFORE  He is our Good Shepherd, so we know the source is good!
    26. 26. How this works  Step 1 – quiet place  Step 2 – pray  Step 3 – activate our minds: “ Lord show me the garden of my heart”  Step 4 – journey with Him  Now it’s your turn: Pen & paper if you want, get comfy, spread out…
    27. 27. Give it a try!  If you feel stuck – just enjoy resting during this quiet time in a safe place.  If you fall asleep – That’s OK, too!  Jesus will meet you wherever you are.  Leaders and Prayer Team Members available if needed following this session. Join me as we start with prayer.
    28. 28. Let’s Go into Your Garden  Begin to imagine your garden  As you sit (or lay) quietly, ask Jesus to bring you into the Garden of your heart.  Perhaps there is a gate
    29. 29. In Your Garden  If you are carrying something (a pack, a purse, a burden of any kind), you may need to leave it at the entrance.  Leave your thoughts and burdens outside the garden.  You can choose to pick them back up again when it’s time to leave the garden.
    30. 30. In Your Garden  You can use all your senses: See, Hear, Touch, Taste, Smell.  Things you might DO in the garden: Walk, Sit, Look, Dance, Sing, Lay Down, Skip, Run, Laugh, Dig, Plant, Weed, Water… Almost Anything  Things you might SEE in the garden: Flowers, Grass, Trees, Paths, Garden Ornaments, Water, Plants, Fruit, Veggies, Shrubs, Other Objects.
    31. 31. In Your Garden  Ask Jesus what He wants to show you, where He wants to go with you.  When he shows you things, ask Him what those things mean, or represent.  If He asks you to dig something up, Ask: “Lord, do you want to put something else in that place?”  Replace with Love of God, Replace with Forgiveness  Mostly, tonight, Jesus just wants to show you around this Garden in Your Heart – Explore with Him!
    32. 32. In Your Garden  If you begin to feel distracted, and other thoughts start to creep in, ask Jesus to take them away, or to show you where to put them so you can focus on Him and on Your Garden.  The Garden is bigger than you think – even when we’re done today, there’s always more to explore. And you can come back!
    33. 33. Finishing In Your Garden As this time draws to a close: • Thank Jesus for meeting you here. • Let Him know how it made you feel. • Tell him what your favorite part was. • You might even ask Him what His favorite part is.
    34. 34. Finishing In Your Garden As this time draws to a close: • Spend a few moments worshipping and praising and thanking Him. • Ask what He wants you to take with you as you leave – an image or picture, a word or phrase, a feeling? Thank Jesus again, because He is SO very GOOD!
    35. 35. Going BACK to Your Garden This exercise can be done in all situations: • Next time children or husbands tick you off – take yourself into the bedroom and ask the Lord to show you what’s in the Garden of Your Heart. • Next time your boss is disrespectful – take yourself off to the washroom and ask God, “What’s in my heart?”
    36. 36. Going BACK to Your Garden This exercise can be done in all situations: • Next time you are in the grocery checkout and you feel irritated with the cashier – right there, ask Jesus to remind you of the restful place He’s made in the Garden of your Heart. • Long or Short – next time you want to sit and “soak” in His Presence. • It WILL change your heart!
    37. 37. In Closing Be respectful of others during this time: • May find the need to remain still and quiet for a while. • May feel like sharing your experience with others. • Everyone will have experienced something different – no one way is better than any others. • You can gather quietly at the other end of the fort, enjoy fellowship at the fire pit, in cabins, anywhere in between.
    38. 38. In Closing REMINDER: Breakfast tomorrow morning is at 8:30am at the Lodge (follow the crowd!) and when you hear singing in here it is time to begin our morning session together! Thank you so much, ladies, friends, and bless you!
    39. 39. Session / Meal Times FRIDAY  Arrival  Session #1  Snack SATURDAY  8:30 am – Breakfast at the Lodge  Session #2  12:00 noon – Lunch at the Lodge  Session #3  5:30 pm – Dinner at the Lodge  Session #4  Departure

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