Never Thirst Again

“Come, see a Man Who has told me everything I ever did!” John 4: 29a


The midday sun was hot. She sat thinking of all that needed to be done… running through the list in her mind. “If I didn’t have to come here, I would get so much more accomplished”, she thought. She came to the well daily and drew her water. It was tiring and strenuous…and today, she was hot. Today, her thoughts kept returning to the decisions she had made in her life. Today, she felt the disappointment in knowing who she had become. Today, she wanted to stay in her home and not allow the walk to the well the opportunity of allowing her mind to wonder. But, the water had to be drawn and the chores had to be completed…so today, she made her walk to the well…and today, her thoughts did wonder. She wondered about the men who had passed through her life. She wondered about the promises that others had never managed to keep and the promises she didn’t have the heart to keep herself. She wondered about her family and if they could see passed her failures…and there were many. “Many, many failures…” she said to herself as she walked along the dirt road. She thought about the man she was living with now. “Even he doesn’t know all I’ve done.” She thought. She thought it best for him not to know all of her right now. Maybe should would tell him one day after he had stayed a while…maybe then he would see more of the woman she wanted to be and not who she was. Maybe then he wouldn’t leave.

I find myself wondering about the thoughts of the individuals we read in the Bible. The story of this woman at the well has captured my attention on more than one occasion. Today was different though. I was driving my little girls to daycare and my oldest daughter and I had been singing. I stopped to call my best friend and tell her how God was opening my heart to the passage in John chapter 4 about this woman at the well, when my little girl began singing, “Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide.” My heart was stirred again. The same water that Jesus offered that woman who had lived such a sinful life, was the same water that my precious two-year old was singing about. I want my little girls to drink of the water that He offers at a young age. I want them to taste of His goodness so that they never seek another fountain to drink from. I heard a children’s church pastor say that he believed young children could find Jesus at a young age and the church could help them grow in Christ instead of constantly trying to win them back. I believe that as well. I believe that fountain that flows still provides all that is sufficient to meet all our needs and desires. I also believe that water from the fountain is constantly refreshed and renewed within the hearts of His children.

The woman at the well was looking for such a water. She was tired of walking day in and day out to fill up a jar that only became empty again. Are you tired? Do you find yourself looking for a well to draw from like this woman?

The very act that Jesus, a Jewish man, would speak to a Samaritan woman, was something out of character in those days. Obviously, there was a purpose in her going to the well and in Jesus stopping there. “It was necessary for Him to go through Samaria.” John 4: 4. When Jesus offered this woman a living water that would cause her to never thirst again, she was eager to accept this. “Where can I find this?” Was she asking because physically she was tired of carrying of those clay pots all the way to the well and all the way home again? Or did she sense that there was something different about this man who had already broken custom to speak to her, much less, offer her something. I wonder if her thoughts began then, “If he knew me…if this man really knew me he wouldn’t offer me anything.” Jesus told her to go get her husband. The woman told him, “I have no husband.” And right here, Jesus let this woman know that He knew her. He told her, “You’re right. You don’t have a husband. But you have had 5 and the man you’re living with now isn’t one of them.” What could have possibly captured her mind and heart? He knew. This man knew her failures and He was still offering her this living water. This woman? This woman who had come from the wrong side of town and had made a mess of herself…Jesus was offering living water to her? I wonder if the simple act of acknowledging the realness of who she was, a sinner, was more real to her than the idea of never thirsting again?

Jesus looked past the custom and He looked past the sin of this woman. He looked at her, and despite the mistakes and the failures saw an individual that needed Him. We as Christians are called to the same. We’re called to look past the faults of the common man and see the heart that needs a Savior. Sadly, I’m afraid we allow society to dictate who is acceptable that we share Jesus with. There are times I feel we measure a person’s ability to be redeemed by our ability to forgive them of their failures. And sometimes it’s hard for us to look past a person’s shortcomings…but it isn’t too hard for our Savior.

There’s a line in an old song that reads, “For He knew me, yet He loved me.” I adore that. We all hold so many insecurities about the person we really are. At times, that person may seem impossible to love and impossible to forgive. But Jesus knows you. He knows the secret confessions of our heart. He sees the hidden emptiness and knows what well’s we have drawn from in an attempt to fill them up. I am so grateful that He knows…and I am so grateful that He offers a living water that can cause you to never search for another well again. There, indeed, is a fountain that flows from deep within. That fountain can so free your soul from all the sin in your life. The beauty of this passage in John chapter 4, is that it was necessary for Him to go through Samaria. It was necessary that He meet this woman at the well. He met her. When Jesus meets you where you are, don’t turn Him away. This may be your opportunity to accept a living water that will cause you to never thirst again.

Author: Britney Wilkes

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

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Published in: on April 18, 2011 at 6:32 pm  Comments (7)  

Defined by the Blood

I am 27 years old. I have a college education and a good job. I live in a nice house and drive a nice vehicle. My pantry is full of food and my closet is full of clothes. I have a wonderful family and a few amazing friends…but these things don’t define me.

I’m scared of snakes and aliens. I don’t sleep well at night. I have a fear of imposing on people and of being left alone. My sugar drops easily. The alto harmony doesn’t come natural for me to sing. I don’t spell well and my grammar isn’t perfect. Traffic tends to get on my nerves and I see no reason for anyone to act rude or disrespectful…but these things don’t define me.

If I like a song I listen to it over and over again. I usually have a good memory. My children are the greatest of anyone’s in the world and also give me the greatest happiness. I will go out of my way to help someone. My favorite colors are black and red. I can make really good chicken wings but I still feel that Italian food is always the better choice…but these things don’t define me.

We all are made up of individual characteristics…imperfections…special attributes that make us unique. Some people spend their life trying to correct something about themselves that they feel is flawed. They have allowed it to define who they are. They find one area…one insecurity…and build a world around trying to change or hide it. It has defined all they do. Because of this, they never take the time to focus on the whole picture.

My best friend and I were shopping today and we saw this skirt. Alone the skirt wasn’t that pretty at all…but given the right top and some nice shoes…maybe, just maybe, that skirt would have been alright in the whole scheme of things. Sure, there are things in all of us that we would like to change. For me, there are things that I wish I never had to worry about changing…but if I look at all of who I am…the imperfections that want to invade my security and peace of mind seem to look smaller and not so noticeable. After all, all of who we are doesn’t matter if we don’t know who we serve.

I was 13 when I knelt at an altar and gave my heart and soul to Jesus Christ. I confessed that I was a sinner and needed a Savior. He who knew no sin laid down His life for mine. He who had no imperfections shed his blood so that I could be Saved. I accepted Him into my life and began living to serve Him. I adore the name of Jesus. I seek to be in His presence. I desire to lead my little girls to Him. I long to tell a dying soul about His grace and mercy. These things….these things define who I am.

The only things that matters in this life is that the one thing we allow to define who we are, is a heart that is living for God. There is a life beyond what we are living…but it is how we choose to live this life that will determine where we will spend the next. If I were you, I would make certain that the only defining characteristic in your life is covered by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Less of who I am Lord and more of who You are…let this be your prayer.

 

 

Author: Britney Wilkes

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

Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 7:14 pm  Comments (1)  

Kept

“Am I my brothers keeper?” -Genesis 4: 9b 

The sheer brilliance of our Creator can not be grasped in our greatest efforts. His magnificence can not be explained in our most eloquent words. Honorable men have devoted their life to studying the character of our Father and still find themselves marveling at His immeasurable wisdom. Our God is truly above all. I am humbled to call myself His child.

I sat thinking of His beautiful design for mankind and in creation. Everything has a purpose…everything works together so intricately to make this wonder we call, “life”. If I could speak intelligently about science I could call to our mind so many examples of this plan from nature to the wonder of the human body. I’m amazed at His handiwork.

A few years back I saw this documentary about wild animals. Typically, I wouldn’t choose this type of television show, but for some reason my interest was sparked. I remember this… There was an injured animal of some sort. When he was by himself, a lion would begin stalk him as prey. But when the other animals of his own kind would encircle him, the lion would back off. This animal was stubborn, however, and didn’t want to stay with his group. He would constantly seek to leave them and every time the lion would begin to stalk him. The group was persistent and still sought after the animal. The narrator of the television show stated that this was normal instinct of this group of animals. They always seek to protect the injured of one of their own.

I was talking with my best friend. I began to share with her how far God has brought me from the pain I used to feel. I remember countless nights of tears. I told her so many times that I was broken…I even had gotten to the point I was content to be broken! But, praise God, He has brought me through! I feel so much better. Looking back, I don’t see how she stuck with me they way she did. Her love was so persistent. Her encouragement never failed. She doesn’t see this in herself. She says that it’s just what she knew to do. I was hurt and injured, so she sought to protect me. I’m one of her own in her mind. Instinctively, she was doing what was natural for her. This time, I cried tears of joy. I told her, “I am so thankful for your love…because when I couldn’t be me, you were you.” She had become her “sister’s keeper.”

I love my best friend and I have often told her that I feel she is one of the greatest women that I know. She doesn’t see this…and honestly, that only adds to the goodness in her. But though I think she’s wonderful, I attribute this to the hand of God on her life. She operates in God’s love. It’s what she knows. It is instinctual for her to love the way she does because she walks close to her Savior.

Being a brother’s keeper is a direct result of the love of Christ in an individual’s life. When Christ saw one that was hurting He sought to meet the need. It’s what we as Christians are called to do. Love. When the Pharisees were questioning Jesus in regard to what the greatest commandments are in Matthew 22, He gave them the two that He says the law is based on. We are to love our Savior with all that we possess and we are to love our neighbor as our self. The “Golden Rule” reads, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Matthew 7:12 Our life as Christian’s should have one distinct characteristic. We love each other.

I’m afraid that often times we become to consumed by taking care of our own self that we lose focus on others. It’s a shame that “hurting” has become such a part of life that we aren’t as moved by its effect. Even in the church, our brothers and sisters in Christ, become hurt. It doesn’t matter the reason… It’s in those times that we should encircle them with the love of our Savior. We should bind around those hurting individuals so the devil, who seeks to destroy them as a lion would, doesn’t consume their heart. Even if those hurting people leave the “group” time and time again, we should seek them out time and time again and continue to love them.

I don’t know what I would have done without my best friend. I saw God’s hand in her love then and I continue to see His hand now. That love kept me. I couldn’t see past the hurt at the time because I wasn’t myself. But she was who God called her to be…her sister’s keeper.

Strive to love more. Don’t be so consumed with life and its responsibilities that we forget those who need an extra show of love. It may be what keeps the devil from seeking them as prey.

 

 

Author: Britney Wilkes

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

 


Published in: on April 7, 2011 at 1:22 pm  Comments (1)  

Lessons from a Windshield

“Put off…the old man, which is corrupt…; And be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4: 21 – 24

Yesterday I had a new windshield installed in my vehicle.  Sometime back a tiny rock had hit it and caused a small chip that, over time, became a huge crack which spread across the entire windshield.  It wasn’t obscuring my view or making it dangerous to drive, so I just let it be and watched it slowly take over.  I didn’t notice it often, just every once in a while I would think, “Wow, that crack is getting big!”  I find it interesting how the process of time makes stuff like that get worse.  I’d like to understand the physics behind it.  Is it the pressure of the wind, the change in the temperature, or just time that made it grow?  What caused it?  Who knows!  It’s just one of those things in life.  No big deal.  It didn’t matter anymore anyway because I had a new windshield!

I drove home thinking how nice it was to have a clean windshield.  Anyone that knows me can attest that I don’t often have a clean anything when it comes to my vehicle.  I was enjoying the fact that there were no bug guts, Rain-X remnants, or fingerprints all over the glass.  It was so clean it was almost like there was nothing there.  But then a big, juicy bug landed on my nice new windshield!  Go figure.  I didn’t know whether to turn the water on and wash it off, or if I should just wait and see if it would blow it off in a few minutes. I really didn’t want to streak my new windshield with bug guts.  Stupid bug—didn’t it see my big ole’ truck coming at it?  How could it have been blind-sided?  I ended up trying to wash it away, but apparently the bug had tree sap for lunch so it didn’t clean off well.  Stupid bug!

It made me think, though, about a person’s spiritual walk.  Of course you knew that, why else would I be writing, right? J  A new Christian, or someone who has recently gotten their spiritual man all washed and cleaned up, are like my new windshield.  We’ll go along feeling good for a while because our soul is clean, God is proud of us and all is right with the world (because all is right with God).  But it is inevitable that we are going to get dirty. We live in a dirty world, after all.  We’re travelling down God’s path and out of nowhere, SPLAT! Some ugly thing just drops out of the blue and messes up your spotless soul.  Stupid sin!  Immediately we try to get it off.  We go to our knees or the closest altar and get clean again.  The first few times this happens we cleanse and repeat, but then something hits us at a bad time, and we are busy or distracted so we try to wipe it away ourselves and have every intention of getting God to take care of it later.  But when you allow something minor to slip by, it becomes much easier to let every minor thing go until the minor things combine and you have a major mess on your hands.

The world is bound to get on you, and if you’re not careful, it will slip through your protective barriers and get in you—in your heart, in your mind, in your spirit.  Some things can be repaired, but a lot of times it has to be totally replaced.  We must guard our hearts.  We must be diligent to keep the world out of our heads and keep our hearts pure.  If God looked through your windshield today would He find it dirty, cracked, broken and in need of repair, or would He see that you have made every effort to keep it spotless before Him?

I could have avoided the huge crack in my windshield if I had gotten the little chip repaired right away.  But I waited too long and it got pretty bad.  But today it’s all better, and you know what?  I didn’t have to pay a penny because I had insurance.

Just like my windshield, you have a chance today to do that for your soul.  If you ask Him, right now, He will make you spotless before Him.  He is able to fix little things before they get out of hand.  And He is able to take the hopeless sin that you are bound in and bring you a new life.  Jesus loves you!  Learn a lesson from my windshield.  It’s not too late and you’re not too far gone and it won’t cost you a thing because He already paid for it.  He’s your insurance to heaven!  If you’re broken, then let Him replace your brokenness with a perfect soul.   He’s waiting–all you have to do is ask!

 

 

Author: Trish Brannon

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

Published in: on April 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm  Comments (2)  

Fear Not..Have Faith

Michelle Drummond is a dear friend of mine and “family” to Trish.  Her heart is burdened to reach others and tell them of Jesus’ love.  She and her husband work in ministry together with the southern gospel group, “The Drummond Family”.  The link to their website is provided here through our site.  I encourage you to visit and listen to the words of their songs.  Sure, they are talented, but it’s the anointing that makes the difference.  She has shared some devotions that God has blessed her with and I would like to share one with you now.  I pray God ministers to you as He has me.

Britney
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“13~And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. 14~For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.” 1 Kings 17:13-14

In my Life Application Study Bible, the following words were comments to these verses, and they really hit home with me tonight – and I’ve read this passage and these words many times because this is a favorite passage:

“Faith is the step between promise and assurance.  Miracles seem so out of reach for our feeble faith.  But every miracle, large or small, begins with an act of obedience.  We may not see the solution until we take the first step of faith.”

How many times do we “say” we have faith, we “say” we believe, we “say” and we “say”…..but do our actions match what we’re saying???  I know personally, my actions do not always match what I may be speaking.  I tell myself I have faith and that I believe, and in my heart I do feel this way.  But do I show this faith?  Do I put forth the act of obedience by stepping out in faith or am I sitting back just waiting for my faith to come and find me with my miracle? Ouch! Yes, I’m stepping on my toes hard!

How many miracles are sitting at the door of faith, just waiting for us to be obedient, to take the first step of faith, to show action and not just words.  If the Lord has given you a promise, then we need to stand on that promise and believe in the promise.  BUT, we also need to show that we have faith in the promise becoming a reality by stepping out and showing the world how strongly we believe.  If I’m believing for salvation for my lost loved ones, I need to walk in faith, proclaiming their salvation.

In 1 Kings, Elijah told the widow to first feed him, and then the Lord would supply their needs.  The widow had to not only believe & have faith as to what Elijah was saying, but she had to act and to be obedient to God’s word.  She made the prophet a cake, and then her & her son were able to live because the barrel did not fail!!

The Lord is asking you to believe and to stand on His promises, but He wants you to not just believe in word alone……..show your faith to the world in your actions! Who knows what doors will open with the small act of obedience ~ faith in action!!

I’m not sure if I was able to convey what I’m feeling, but maybe the word will touch you like it has me tonight……..I don’t want to be an idle believer – I want my faith to have legs stepping out in total obedience!

 

 

Author: Michelle Drummond

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

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 4:28 pm  Comments (2)  

The Lover of My Soul

“For He satisfieth the longing soul…” Psalm 107:9a

I was 13 years old the year that I was saved.  The praise team sang a song, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.”  I fell in love with that phrase.  I thought it was beautiful.  When I would lead the praise and worship team for my youth I would sing those words with such sincerity…with such passion.  “Jesus, Lover of my soul.  Jesus, I will never let You go.  You’ve taken me from the miry clay.  You’ve set my feet upon a Rock and now I know.  I love you.  I need.  Though my world may fall, I’ll never let you go.  My Savior.  My closest friend.  I will worship you until the very end.”

Today, almost 15 years later, God called that passion to my attention again.  I was able to attend a church service where The Drummond Family was ministering.  One of the ladies in the group has such a precious anointing.  She was sharing a testimony of God’s goodness in her life and referred to our Savior as the “Lover of my soul.”  Tears filled my eyes and gratefulness filled my heart…because now I can sing with an even greater conviction.  I know the Lover of my soul and He alone can satisfy my longing.

I have shared that my marriage ended a short while ago.  The ending of that season in my life almost broke me. ..and because I was hurting and broken…because there was a huge emptiness within me, I was eager to replace what I had lost.  Let me be the first to tell you that if you are looking to the world for an answer, you will always receive an answer, but it is temporary.  I was standing in my girls nursery when my best friend told me, “Britney, you don’t need a man to validate who you are.  Let God do that for you.”  That aggravated me.  “I’m not looking for validation,” I argued.  And I didn’t feel that I was.  I wasn’t living in sin.  I wasn’t doing anything that I couldn’t tell my mama about!  I had justified everything within my mind but my spirit knew different.  I was looking for validation.  I was looking for someone to tell me that I was worth something.  That I was special.  That there was still beauty in my brokenness.  I wanted someone to make me feel whole again…complete.  I tried to fill that emptiness for months until one day I allowed myself to feel the hurt.  I allowed myself to feel.  I began to feel all that had been lost and I cried on my knees in my living room.  I knelt at my couch and told God these words..  “I want to feel all the hurt that I have to feel.  I want to feel all the anger, all the bitterness, all the fear…I want to go through everything that I have to go through.  But, I don’t want to numb the pain by my own devices anymore.  I want You to fill my emptiness.  I want You to heal my brokenness.  I want You to ease the bitterness and the anger.  I want to go through this, but I want to go through this with You.”  It was a conscious decision and it required effort on my part, but He met me there.  He didn’t leave me where I was.  He didn’t become angry and say, “No, you wanted to do it your way!”  He met me where I was. …Broken…hurt…I felt so empty…and He loved me anyway.  My Savior has become the lover of my soul.  He knows the ins and outs of my very being.  He has searched the darkest crevasses of my heart and mind.  He has whispered peace in the stillness of the night…and He has proclaimed His love for me in abundance.  I have come to this point in my life.  I would rather be alone and know that my soul is at rest in the shelter of my Saviors arms than spend a moment of satisfaction with multitudes of those that could offer happiness in a world that is fleeting.  My Savior has satisfied the longing of my soul.

There are those of you who are searching to fill an emptiness within your heart.  For whatever reason, you feel the need to be validated as something of worth…to be told that you are special…to be pointed out in a crowd of everyday faces.  Please, don’t waste time looking for fulfillment in a world that is going to pass away.  God desires to share such a love with you that others pale in comparison.  You, indeed, are special.  You, indeed, are of worth.  The God of all creation sent His Son to save your soul.  He lived a sinless life.  No fault could be found in Him and yet He willingly laid down His life on an old rugged cross…took the shame and mockery from a blasphemous people…and shed His blood so you would know that you ARE of worth, not just of something, but EVERYTHING.  He gave everything for you.

Seek Him and you will find Him.  Honor Him and you will never be left without.  Love Him and allow Him to be the lover that fills the longings of your soul.

 

 

Author: Britney Wilkes

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

Published in: on April 3, 2011 at 8:14 pm  Comments (9)