I Will Remember

“I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted . I remembered God, and was troubled : I complained , and my spirit was overwhelmed . Selah. Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak . I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search . Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore ? Hath God forgotten to be gracious ? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah. And I said , This is my infirmity : but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah. The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid : the depths also were troubled . The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad . The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook . Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known . Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” Psalms 77

Life has a way of causing those with even the greatest of strength and determination to falter at times. I imagine it would be a fair assumption that we all have sat back, at some point in our life, and asked ourselves, “How did I get here? Why am I going through this?”

No too long ago, I remember going through a period in my life. I cried until I was certain I wouldn’t be able to cry another tear. I argued with myself, my best friend, the dog, the cat, God…anyone or anything that would give their ear to my frustration and found myself in the same misery at the end of my ranting. I was going through such a trial that I prayed for sleep so I could escape from my thoughts for a few hours…but even sleep wouldn’t come to my rescue.

These are the periods of life that cause us to question. They cause us to step back and take inventory of what we have gained and lost through the years. Trials are hard. They are draining…and they make the most opportune times for Satan to challenge our hearts and minds. I will be honest and tell you that it wasn’t so very long ago that I confessed to my best friend that “I don’t know.” I was so broken at that point that “I don’t know” seemed the answer to every question. I didn’t know if God was with me because I hadn’t felt Him in so long. I didn’t know if God was supplying strength because I felt so wearied by my trial. I didn’t know if I would feel like myself again because who I was at one point in my life seemed to have been stripped away and forgotten. I didn’t know if things would get better because life hadn’t given me to the opportunity to see much hope for my future…and if this was the security I had been given, I didn’t know if I wanted it anymore.

Have you been there? Have you questioned whether your walk with God was worth it? Have you questioned Who and what you believe? I have.

I told my best friend that I didn’t know. I didn’t know if I wanted to keep walking with a God that I wasn’t sure about anymore. Then, God used her. She said, “Britney, you’re angry at the wrong person. God didn’t do this to you.” She was right. I was justified in my anger, but I wasn’t right in being angry at God. He did allow this trial to come my way, but He didn’t cause this trial for me. Man did. It was man’s decisions that caused the hurt and anger I felt. Then she said these words that truly challenged all the confusion I had been feeling. “Britney, you can not deny that you have felt Him. You have felt the hand of God in your life before.” I could logically argue with her about so many things that had caused such pain in my life. I could raise so many questions that she nor I would be able to answer. But, I can’t deny THAT.

At the age of 13 I remember feeling the sheer awesome presence of God. I remember laying in my bed and being consumed by such a love that it only could have come from His hand. I have sung under an anointing that caused men’s hearts to melt and hand to raise in surrender to His glory. And even in this trial…even in this pain…there were times that I would close my eyes and feel peace. Peace in the midst of a storm. That’s God.

I have began to praise Him more. I’ve began to acknowledge Him and Who He is and my frame of mind is changing. My Spirit is being lifted. I’m seeing things clearer. There truly is something to praise. Our physical body responds when it acknowledges its maker and the burden begins to become lighter, the darkness begins to break way for the Light, and the pains begins to ease. The Psalmist learned this lesson many years ago. He too was going through a trial that was breaking his heart and spirit. He questioned if God had forsaken him. “Is Your mercy gone? Are your promises failing?” He stood where we have struggled too. But then, he gives us the answer to overcoming the trials that try to defeat us. “But I will remember the works of the Lord.” He began to call to mind all the times that God had made Himself real. He began to meditate on His deliverance and on the Word of God and His whole outlook began to change in response. “Who is as great as our God?”, he asked.

Praise Him. Remember Him. Call to your mind all the times that He has shown Himself real. Will there be times that you have to make yourself? Sure. “I WILL remember.”…he commanded his mind. So, certainly there may be times where we have to make the conscious decision to praise Him. But, PRAISE HIM.

I will remember Him. I can’t deny Him. I refuse to give in.

Author: Britney Wilkes

Copyright © 2010-2011 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved


Published in: on March 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm  Comments (3)  

Make Me a Stumbling Block?

Ezekial 3:18 ‘When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest them not warnings, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.’

 

A while back I received an email from a friend where you had to answer all the questions with just one word. You know, the ones where they ask you things like “Do you miss anyone one? What are you annoyed at right now? Tell me about your mother,” etc. For someone who talks as much as I do it can sometimes be difficult to sum it all up into one word. I miss both of my babies and my mama every day because they are in daycare and revival. I am annoyed that people think things about me that aren’t true and that some of the “powers that be” for the company I work for seem to want to shut us down regardless of how many people we help. It was easy to sum my Mama up into one word however, I just replied, “AMAZING!” Anyone that knows my Mama knows that’s the perfect description, enough said!!

 

One of the questions was “What are you afraid of?” A friend had already given the answer I immediately thought of, “Hell.” I didn’t have to change that one. But there was so much more I wanted to say. I’m not so afraid of hell myself, because I have made my calling and my election sure. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost and ready should Jesus call for me right this very second. But I am afraid of hell for the people around me, the ones I see in Wal-Mart, the ones I sit in church with, the ones I work with. My sister, Jenny, wrote a song for me that pretty much sums up the way that I feel. It’s called “Make Me a Ministry.” Very often when I introduce this song I share these thoughts. I want to minister in a way that helps people see Jesus, not just through my songs and my ministry with The Drummond Family, but through my life. I want to be in tune with the Spirit so that when I walk through the grocery store or the shoe store (my personal fave!) I can feel God’s heart being drawn to someone dying in sin. My worst fear is that one day I’ll be standing before the judgment throne and hear someone screaming out, “Trish, you knew. WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME???”

 

Matthew 21:44 ‘And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder’. I saw a scene in a movie the other day where some robbers were trying to run away from the security guards in a museum. A man was sitting on a bench reading a newspaper and as one of the thieves ran past him he simply stuck his foot out and caused the would-be robber to trip and fall, thus being caught by the security guards. He was a stumbling block to that thief. That’s what I want to do. I want to be a stumbling block!

 

I said that in church one day and you should have seen the looks I got. We think of a stumbling block as a bad thing, and if it’s in the path of a Christian it is a bad thing. But that’s the chief cornerstone—Himself—Jesus is talking about in this scripture in Matthew. I’d much rather be the stone that gets right in the middle of the path of a sinner, and causes him to stumble and fall and be broken if it will stop them from going down that path. If he gets crushed to powder then what hope does he have? You can never return a powder to a solid form. I pray that prayer, “Lord, make me a stumbling block for the sinners.” If I see someone trying to run with the thief, (you know, the one that comes to steal, kill and destroy) and I can stick my foot out at just the right time and trip them up then I’ve done my job. It may be frustrating and painful to them–it may break them–but it could help them see the path of destruction they are on. However, if I just sit idly by, minding my own business, and let them go, then The Stone is going to fall on them and grind them to powder. And their blood will be required of me. All the souls I may have won, all the good I may have done, will seem so insignificant to me if there is one that I missed.

 

I know it can be so hard to share what’s in your heart and what you know is right, but we must share Jesus. Our time is short. Jesus is coming soon. I was in service the other night and the Lord said that He would protect His people from that destruction that is coming. It was so urgent, and it broke my heart because all I could think was I want to reach as many people as I can to save them from this destruction. I pray that I can be a sinner’s stumbling block today! Let’s win the lost at ANY cost. Will you work with me to trip them up and stop them from running away with the thief?

 

 

Author: Trish Brannon

Copyright © 2010-2011 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 9:42 am  Comments (6)  

Broken Pieces

 

I bought my oldest little girl a play crib set as part of her Christmas this year. I’ve never had to put her toys together before because her daddy had always done that. But this Christmas was different because her dad and I are no longer together. So, for the first time, I had to put the toys together. I woke up at 1:28AM on Christmas morning and snuck into the living room. I figured I would take a few minutes putting the crib together, put out the presents that “Santa Clause” had dropped off., and sneak back in the bed for the remainder of the night.

 

Not so much.

 

I opened that box and found so many pieces that I was sure the instructions would need instructions. This play crib even required actual real tools for the assembly. Before that night, that would have been a problem because I didn’t possess a single tool. But, my neighbor gave me a 20 piece set for Christmas, so I had everything I needed to complete the job. I took the pieces out and laid them on the floor. The play crib set that looked so adorable on the box, was overwhelming. For such a small crib this seemed like so much work. Had I not known that the pieces would make a crib I would have never guessed that the pieces would be able to work together at all. But, I read the instructions carefully and began working. About half way into the project I began to understand why children leave milk and cookies for Santa and I took a step back to admire my progress. To my surprise I could recognize the crib. In the midst of the all the pieces I began to feel the presence of God. I began to view the pieces in a different light. They reminded me of myself actually.

 

Life has a way of shattering our heart at times. I looked at the pieces of the crib and could see pieces of myself…dreams I had dreamed that would never take shape, plans that would never form, love that had been abused and thrown my the wayside. All the pieces of my life seemed so scattered until God took control. With the right tools He was able to begin to assemble me together. It took some time, but eventually the pieces began to take shape…and eventually I began to recognize myself.

 

I’m not so embarrassed to tell you that I cried when I finished that crib. I felt like I had accomplished something so great…and in a way I had. The truth of my present life is that at times I still feel so very broken. I’m guilty of telling my best friend that I don’t see how I will ever be better. She reminds me that I’m too close to the situation, and she’s right. I am so close that I can’t see all the pieces that God will use as He places me back together….but He is placing me back together. Just as my child is enjoying her crib set with her new baby dolls, I will enjoy my life when God places the pieces back into place. For me it’s comforting to know that my life is being fashioned by the hand of God. So, on the days that I do feel the gaps where the pieces have yet to be placed…when I am reminded of my brokenness…God reminds me of the crib set and calls to my mind that He isn’t finished with me yet.

 

 

Author: Britney Wilkes

Copyright © 2010-2011 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

Published in: on March 23, 2011 at 11:32 am  Comments (3)  

The Beginning of Sorrows

“And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”  And Jesus answered and said unto them, “Take heed that no man deceive you.  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.  And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24: 3-8

The earthquake in Japan has been devastating.  There has been so much loss and ruin.  I watched the news one morning and saw where there is a very real possibility that the delay in Japan’s Nuclear Power Plants not being able to operate could cause even more damage for millions upon millions of others whose lives were not taken by the earthquake.  It’s horrible.  A little while after I watched the news, I ran to town and played the Gaither Vocal Band’s C.D, “Reunion”.  I paid closer attention to the lyrics of the first verse of “The King Is Coming.”  The marketplace is empty/No more traffic in the streets/All the builders tools are silent/no more time to harvest wheat/Busy housewives cease their labor/In the court room, no debate/ Work on earth has been suspended/As the King comes through the gate….

Every time I hear of the devastation of an earthquake my heart is stirred and I begin thinking about my heavenly home.  Jesus’ words are brought to my mind when he mentions that earthquakes in diverse places are a sign that the end is near.  “All these things are the beginning of sorrows.”  We have listened to so many believers speak of Jesus’ return so many times that I wonder if our hearts aren’t as sensitive to the times we are living in?  Is this the beginning of sorrows that Matthew wrote about?  I know that the Word tells us that no man knows the time that Jesus will return.  I wont even begin to assume that I would be privileged to a time that even the angels in heaven aren’t aware of.  Maybe the tragedy of the earthquake is the cause of my recent interest…I’m not certain…but I do know that my heart has been stirred.

Are you ready?  Have you made the real decision to commit your life to God?  Are you playing games in your walk with Christ?

The Word tells us that “A double minded man is unstable in all of his ways.”  James 1:8.  A double minded man meaning an individual who isn’t certain about who they are or what they believe.  They are of one opinion around this person, and of another opinion around that person.  The world describes these people as hypocrites.  They are those who take on the name of Christ, confess themselves as Christians, but continue living as they wish.  They continue talking about others, watching filth on television, and visiting places where a sincere follower of Christ wouldn’t go.  If we are to give an account for every idle word that we speak as Matthew 12:36 says, then shouldn’t we as Christians be more mindful of what we say?  Shouldn’t we make sure our words matter?  Shouldn’t we desire our words to be a true representation of who Jesus truly is?  “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the way, and narrow is the gate which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”  Matthew 7:13,14.  Our life matters.  The decisions we make matter.  The words we speak into existence will take root somewhere…someday.  Though we do serve a God of grace and mercy we should never forget that He is also a jealous God that desires our whole heart and life.  There are many people who find a wide road easier to travel.  You can relax on a wide road and not look where you are going as much.  You can veer to the left or to the right and never get off path.  But, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”  Proverbs 14:12.  The straight way is more difficult.  It requires your attention.  You can’t veer to the left or right because you might miss the gate.  The world doesn’t typically like this path because it requires commitment to a lifestyle that many see as “old-fashioned” and “out of date”.  We are labeled as “holier than thou” and “goody goodies”.  But what if these times are the beginning of sorrows?  What if the time that the old believers have spoken of is now?  Matthew 24:34 says, “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”  What if this is our generation?

So, I ask again…are you ready?  What if the Son of God was to return?  Did you tell that friend about Christ or were you waiting for a better opportunity?  Were you about to become serious in your walk with Christ or were you wanting to live a little first?  Were you about to start watching your words…changing your thoughts…  We are only promised today…this moment.  What if you lose your opportunity?

Author: Britney Wilkes

Copyright © 2010-2011 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

Published in: on March 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm  Comments (7)  

Picking Up Stones

All throughout the Old Testament we read where God’s children built altars of sacrifice.  Much blood was shed to atone for the sins of His people.  But altars/monuments were also constructed as a memorial to those who passed that way so they could see that God had delivered in that place…God had come through on this ground…

Abraham built an altar in Genesis 13:18 when God have him his promise that he would have more descendents than the dust of the earth.  In Genesis 22:9 Abraham built another altar and was willing to sacrifice the fulfillment of that promise in his son, Isaac. However, God stepped in and provided a ram.  In Judges 6:24, Gideon built an altar after he had seen the very face of God Himself.  They were altars where Jehovah Jirah, the Provider, displayed His provision and met the needs of His children.  They were altars where God displayed his realness to a common man.  They were memorials where great works had been accomplished and these situations became turning points in those individuals lives.  These happenings effected the people so much that they would take time to pick up sometimes huge stones, pile them together, and offer sacrifices of praise.

I have built altars in my life.  I have constructed monuments through the years.  People can look into my life and see these monuments because I have piled huge stones that weighed heavy.  But I didn’t offer sacrifices of praise on these altars.  Instead, I marked these places in times of great loss and pain.  Because of this, when I look back over my life, I have a tendency to remember the pain and loss and not the provision of God.

Life has a way of making sweet things bitter.  Just because we are christians, we aren’t immune to life and all its glory…whether it be good or bad.  However, the bad places in life…the times where the sweetness takes on a different taste…these are the times when life is hard to swallow.

I built my first monument when I was very young.  My mom was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and because of her sickness, she had difficulty expressing her love for her family.  I didn’t realize how deeply this effected me, but it did…and I built a monument to remember the loss of that love.  When I was 17, my mom died and I built another monument to remember the loss of hope in ever having a relationship with her.  I spent years at these monuments until life offered me an opportunity to construct another monument with the death of my grandaddy and then my grandmother (“Memaw”)….and then the death of my job that I had devoted so much to…and then finally, the death of my marriage.  I spent so much time constructing these monuments and picking up huge stones of guilt and bitterness…just adding them one on top of another.  I couldn’t move on because emotionally I had drained myself by continuing to pick up the stones of pain.  My inner strength grew weak.

I found myself telling my best friend the other day that I felt I was doing better only to find myself the next day struggling again.  I told her I was tired.  And I am…but I realize why now.  I found myself building another monument to mark the pain…and picking up those stones makes you weak.

Psalms 107: 8 -9, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!  For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”

God wants us to mark areas of praise!  Of deliverance!  Of provision!  The Psalmist declared, “Oh that men would praise the Lord!”  Praise brings joy!  “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10.  If you lose your joy, you become weak.  So God wants us to mark the places of His delieverance….of His grace….Like, telling my mom the night before she died, “I love you” and laughing with her. Like, the opportunity to accept a mother’s love from a precious and beautiful woman.  Like, the opportunity to minister at a new place of employment, and like…looking into the eyes of the two most sincere gifts of God that He gave me through my children.  These places…when I offer praise at these monuments and begin to move on from my other monuments of pain, they truly grow small in comparison.  And eventually, after I move on a ways, I imagine it would cost too much to make the trip back to them, when I can still see my monuments of praise.

What are you spending time remembering?  Have you built altars and marked life’s failures?  Are you growing weak from picking up stones of guilt and shame?…or are you praising Him for His goodness.  Are you taking time to sacrifice, praise, and acknowledge the delivering hand of God?  Look back, what are you giving your strength toward?  Remembering the pain and the loss, or building praises unto God?  “Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness!”

 

 

 

Author: Britney Wilkes

Copyright © 2010-2011 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

Published in: on March 11, 2011 at 12:36 pm  Comments (5)  

The Eye of the Beholder

“And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle. And the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land [making fodder more difficult to obtain]. So Abram said to Lot, Let there be no strife, I beg of you, between you and me, or between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself, I beg of you, from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you choose the right hand, then I will go to the left. And Lot looked and saw that everywhere the Jordan Valley was well watered. Before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, [it was all] like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as you go to Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley and [he] traveled east. So they separated.” Genesis 13: 7 – 11

Lot had a decision to make.  In many ways it appeared to be an easy choice.  There were not many options that had been laid before him.  Two actually – right or left?  God had blessed both himself and his uncle, Abram.  They each had family, flocks, and cattle.   Each man had herdsmen to watch over their livestock.  In fact, they had accumulated so much between themselves that the land where they were living could no longer meet their needs.  Tension and strife began to rise between the men’s herdsmen.  Because of this, Abram decided that it was best they separate from the other.  He told Lot to choose, right or left, and he would take his possessions and live in the land the other direction.  So, Lot stood and looked to the right and then to the left.

It seems logical that when an individual decides to move their family, that they would want to do basic research about the area they would be living in.  Is it a nice neighborhood?  Are there good schools for the children?  What kind of opportunities are available?  What about the crime rate?  The Bible doesn’t tell us that Lot questioned anything, however.  Actually, the Word tells us in verse 10 of chapter 13 in the book of Genesis that Lot “looked at the land along the Jordan Valley and he could see it was well watered such that it was like the garden of the Lord.”  It was beautiful.  It appeared in looking at the land that it was obviously the “better” choice.  So, verse 11 reads, “Then Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley and he traveled east.”  Verse 11 would mark the point in Lot’s life where all that followed that certain decision would be directly related to that moment.

What led Lot to that choice?  Greed?  Did he see the land and feel that he could profit more than Abram?  The Word doesn’t clarify his intentions but it does specifically note that Lot could see the land and see that it was beautiful.  He didn’t ask any questions about the land…he didn’t travel there and see what the environment was like…Lot based his decision solely on the appearance of the land…and because the land appeared beautiful he moved all of his possessions and family.

When God entrusts individuals lives into our care we should make the absolute best of this opportunity.  I don’t want to be held accountable for another’s failure due to an irresponsible decision on my part.  Appearances are often deceiving.  Lot’s story is a prime example.  The land along the Jordan Valley was indeed beautiful.  It’s appearance would certainly lead the onlooker to feel that everything this land contained would possess beauty as well.  The Word reads in Genesis 13:12, “Lot dwelt in the cities f the Jordan Valley and moved his tend as far as Sodom and dwelt there“.  Lot made his decision and made his and his families residence in Sodom because it appeared beautiful.  But verse 13 reveals the reality of this land.  “But the men of Sodom were wicked and exceedingly great sinners against the Lord.”

Satan has a way of making even the most vile of sin appear beautiful in our sight.  I would hope that had Lot known the reality of the land he was moving his family into, he would have chosen differently.  But he didn’t make a wise decision.  He didn’t research his options.  His decision effected his entire family.  Had he looked past the appearance and sought the reality so much pain could have possibly been avoided.  Though Lot was a good man with a good family, he was still able to be deceived by the beautiful appearance of sin.  He allowed this beautiful appearance to cloud his judgment and he acted on impulse instead of using wisdom.  Through God’s Word, He has allowed us the opportunity to learn from these individuals loves.  Learn to look past the appearance and seek the reality of that which we involve ourselves with.

 

 

Author: Britney Wilkes

Copyright © 2010-2011 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

Published in: on March 1, 2011 at 5:52 pm  Comments (1)