Last Saturday I had the privilege of attending my first Michelle Lesley conference in Denton, Texas at The Church At Pecan Creek. This church is known for hosting doctrinally sound guest speakers, such as Voddie Baucham, Darrell Harrison, Virgil Walker, Susan Heck, and Justin Peters, just to name a few. I highly recommend checking their website often for upcoming events if you live in the area.
This conference was a much-needed day of fellowship and, as always, solid theological teaching from Michelle. The sessions were titled: “Suffering”, “Managing Media”, and “Hooked on a Feeling: Living By God’s Word Instead of Our Emotions”. We also had a time of Q&A where Michelle took questions from the women in attendance.
*Phrases in italics are quotes from the conference. Bold print is a title or a heading used in our conference handout.
In Session 1, “Suffering”, the focus verse was
“Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” 1 Peter 4:19
We learned that Christ is the Hero of our suffering. It is by His example as the suffering Servant that we too can learn how to handle suffering in our own lives. He suffered not only an excruciating death on the cross (excruciating literally means “out of the cross”), but He endured mockery, scorn, betrayal, and perhaps worst of all, His Father turning His face away from His only son as Christ bore our sins on the tree. With Christ we have hope in our suffering. With Christ we may walk through the suffering of a trial once, but without Him, we suffer twofold, because we suffer as ones without hope. As believers, Christ walks through our suffering with us, and nothing we suffer is in vain, because He uses our suffering for our good. He gives us strength and blesses those who suffer for Christ’s name. One way we are helped through suffering is by being blessed to be in a church family, where we bear each other’s burdens and encourage one another. Michelle said, “Christ’s gift to us is a church family that ministers to us.”
How do we biblically handle suffering?
One way is that we understand that it’s OK to feel sad or overwhelmed during difficult times. Something else Michelle said was, “It doesn’t mean you aren’t a good Christian if you are overwhelmed by suffering.” That was something I needed to hear. Because sometimes we can feel like we must be doing something wrong if, as God’s people, we are overwhelmed in our trials. But: “God’s people suffer sometimes.”
Something that stood out to me was that as we “Weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15), there is widsom in knowing when to speak and when to stay silent. Sometimes those who are suffering just need our presence, not our words.
Other ways we biblically handle suffering are:
*Don’t let grief turn into self-pity.
Scripture teaches us to focus on Christ. We are tempted to place our focus inwardly, but don’t! Focus outwardly on Him.
Take joy that God is at work.
Take our burdens to Him.
*Apply sound theology.
Think biblically about the situation.
Even when we are hurting, we don’t get a “pass” to sin. In our suffering, we must “walk worthy”.
In Session 2, “Managing Media”, Michelle gave wisdom on how to navigate the wild world of social media, as well as other forms of media we consume.
“We’ve all likely heard the phrase, “Garbage in, garbage out”, but we want “Godly in, Godly out.”
Our intake of media can cause us to worry or to have social media strife. We can be drawn into social media to the point that we can experience anxiety and stress. We aren’t to live this way. This is why we have to be mindful at all times in our consumption of media. Basically, we consume the media. It doesn’t consume us!
Social media can be a blessing! We can keep up with family, church, watch our favorite preachers and teachers online, as well as network with likeminded believers. ( Networking has been a godsend for me! )
But social media can also seem like a curse sometimes, can’t it? Especially when online debates can get heated. Friendly debate is good. But there is a time when we need to decide just not to engage. Especially with lost people. “Lost people don’t think biblically”. They will never accept things that are spiritually discerned. As Michelle said, “We cannot argue lost people into believing the truths of scripture. They need the GOSPEL!” So when you come up against that person who just won’t hear the truth? Learn to pick your battles, and if it’s not worth it, grab your pearls and get out of the pigpen!
It’s fairly easy to distinguish right vs. wrong on social media. But as believers, we have to be able to distinguish between right vs. ALMOST right. “Sound biblical doctrine is the EXCEPTION in social media, even “Christian” media”. There are some who believe they are being discerning, but don’t realize they are being taken in by what is being said because it SOUNDS right. Maybe a teacher is using scripture and making it sound good. But it could be taken horribly out of context. That’s why it’s important to know you are discerning correctly. Some steps to that are:
You will never be able to discern the things of God until you belong to Him.
*Know your bible.
God’s word IS truth. Get in it. If you don’t know truth, you won’t recognize a lie.
*Satan is trying to deceive you and disguises himself as a Christian.
“Satan disguises himself in a costume of Christianity in order to deceive.”
*Compare all Christian material to Scripture and reject whatever doesn’t match up!
“Eat the meat and spit out the bones” is TERRIBLE advice! We are to avoid ANYONE who teaches falsely. Don’t swallow anything they are offering up as good. Don’t just eat the meat and spit out the bones. Throw out the whole cow!!
Session 3, “Hooked on a Feeling” had us focus on this familiar verse:
“The heart is deceitful above all things and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” ( Jeremiah 17:9 )
One of the most dangerous things for a Christian is to let ourselves be led by our emotions. When we are, we are unstable and make bad decisions!
Why should we live by God’s Word instead of our emotions?
We go back to the focus verse: Our hearts, or emotions, are deceptive. We hear people say all the time, “Follow your heart.” Don’t do it! “We are created to be followers. We WILL follow something. And we long to follow something that won’t let us down.” The answer: Follow God!
God is our Master. We are either a slave to Him, or a slave to sin. As His children He IS our master. He bought our sin debt and has given us freedom by adopting us into His family. “The Master has authority over the slave.”
We are able to avoid living by our emotions because Jesus is our example. Even when tempted in the wilderness, He didn’t let his hunger, thirst, or weariness get the better of Him. “Jesus lived by ‘It is written.’. He didn’t live by His feelings.”
So, here’s how to live by God’s Word instead of our emotions.
*Determine in your spirit that you’re going to do it.
Make an OBJECTIVE biblical decision.
Ask God to help you.
*Identify your weaknesses.
“When are you most likely to live by your emotions?” Or what emotions are you most likely to be controlled by?
Remember, scripture is how Jesus combatted Satan in the wilderness!
*Cut off our right hand/gouge out your right eye.
Get rid of anything that is a temptation for you to sin.
*Make a plan ahead of time.
Bad decisions are made when you are reactive rather than proactive. Plan ahead how you will respond to your emotional triggers. Respond in a godly way.
Our day with Michelle Lesley was a true blessing. It was so nice to finally get to hug her neck, as well as being able to meet some new sweet sisters, and seeing a few other dear ones again! (*all friends I’ve made on social media, by the way!)
I highly recommend keeping a close watch on Michelle’s speaking schedule for a possible opportunity to get to sit and soak in God’s word and LEARN SOLID biblical teaching straight from God’s Word. Bring your bible and your pen! This isn’t like other women’s conferences where you don’t ever open a bible! Her speaking engagement page also tells you how you can schedule her to speak at your church or event. I can assure you, you will be blessed!
If you have never heard Michelle, or possibly never heard OF her, here’s a few places you can find her:
Her blog page at MichelleLesley.com ( I have this page bookmarked for constant reference! )
Her podcast with Amy Spreeman, A Word Fitly Spoken
Michelle has been a guest speaker at the Open Hearts in a Closed World online conference. Here is her session from last year. ( This year’s conference is coming up soon! And it’s FREE! Check it out! )