IF: Gathering


 If you’ve been following me on Instagram, then you know that this past weekend I was blessed to attend a local IF: Gathering at my home church.  If you have never heard of IF: Gathering, you should definitely check it out! I unfortunately wasn’t able to be there for the first couple hours on both Friday and Saturday due to work and dance classes, but the sessions I was able to hear were so wonderful.

I thought that today I would share my favorite message with you.  The incredible thing is, it almost didn’t even happen.  Angie Smith wasn’t scheduled to speak, but after feeling the Lord convicting her that she was supposed to share and being encouraged by the founder of IF, Jennie Allen, she shared what ended up being my most favorite message.  I have literally been telling everyone to go to IF’s website and watch it before it is taken down.  If you didn’t have the opportunity to hear it, for Angie’s message alone it is worth the $35 to download it, though you will definitely be blessed by all of the other speakers as well.

Angie started out with talking about how at the very beginning of the Bible in Genesis there are two questions asked, one by Satan, “Are you sure God has your best in mind?”  and the next is by God, “Where are you?”  As Angie was quick to point out, God had not lost Adam, he was asking him, what is the posture of your heart towards me?

Then she went on to talk about Abraham and Isaac, when they were going up the mountain to offer sacrifices to God and Isaac was to be the sacrifice.  On the way up, Isaac asked Abraham, “Father, where is the sacrifice?” and Abraham replied, “God himself will provide the lamb.”  As Abraham was about to kill Isaac and sacrifice him, God sent an angel to stop him and provided a ram caught in a nearby thicket instead.  Abraham had passed the test.  He then went on to name the base of that mountain, “the place where God provided.”

Angie talked about how there are places in her life where her faith has been tested she struggles to call them the place where God provided, for instance when she goes to the cemetery to visit her daughter that died shortly after birth.  It was after on such visit though that she felt God leading her to read this story again, and after reading it several times over she realized something, God provided a ram in that moment, but on the way up, they had spoken of a lamb.  A few thousand years later, Jesus Christ, the lamb of God, would be sacrificed on that same mountain range, the lamb that God had provided.

So the next time that Satan asks you, “Are you sure?”  you can reply, I am not certain of the ram, but I am certain of the lamb.  And when you hear God asking, “Where are you,” be there ready to reply, “Here I am Lord, ready and willing.  Use me.”

I have not written this nearly as eloquently and Angie spoke it, but I hope you are as encouraged as I was by what God spoke through her.  We all have moments when our faith is tested and it is hard to see how God can have our best interests at heart, but we must remember that we can’t see the big picture that He does, and trust Him to carry us through. Even though I know Angie will never read this, I want to publicly thank her for having the courage to follow God and share at IF this past weekend, it was such a blessing to me and something I needed to be reminded of, so thank you so much from me and every other woman I know that has been so blessed by the message you spoke.


Leighton Michele

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