Standing at the Door

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20

My little girls love their Grammy. There aren’t many times that we get into the car that they won’t ask.. ‘Mama, what is Grammy doing? Can we go see her?’ And there haven’t been many times that if Grammy is home, she hasn’t said ‘Sure, bring those babies to their Grammy.’ It is a love that is given as much as it’s received…and it’s precious.

See, Grammy isn’t my actual Mama, in the technical sense of the word…but she loves me as if I were hers. And those little girls aren’t her granddaughters, but they will never know a difference, because she loves them just the same. When we go to her house the girls usually find their way to her lap, where hugs and tickles are passed out freely. When I get too rough with them Grammy reminds me.. ‘They’re little, don’t hurt them.’. When the girls are too tired to play she sings to them. And after several hugs and kisses are given, only to be given again, I attempt to calm the girls and bribe them into their car seats. Standing on the porch watching us is the Mama that God gave me. Grammy has her eye on her girls. Eventually, I’ll hear her tell me to call her when we get home, but she doesn’t go inside until we’re all buckled in and on the road home. It’s in those moments when I can still see the light in her eyes from having a 2 and a 4 year olds arm’s wrapped around her, that I feel so blessed. I know that if I called her she would come running, because she is my Mom. She watches out for her children.

The parallel isn’t exactly the same, but the truth of the message doesn’t change. Jesus says in Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” Jesus is standing waiting on His children to answer Him. He isn’t at the car beeping the horn. He isn’t texting when He gets close to your house. He has made Himself available to you, and is standing and waiting at your heart’s door to be allowed in. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” Jesus has made Himself available to you. The verse goes on to say.. “If any man hear My voice..” Not only has He made Himself available, but He’s calling and knocking. He’s making Himself known. It’s as if Jesus is saying ‘I’m right here. If you will take the time to hear Me and let Me in, I’m right here. What do you need?’

This is a very simple comparison of God’s love for his people, but in comparing this with a Mother’s protectiveness…it’s beautiful to me. Though we may have left home, or may have allowed other things to occupy our heart, Jesus is still standing, making Himself available and making Himself known. All we have to do is call out to Him, and when we call out our Father will answer..’I’m here. I’ve been watching, and I’ve been waiting just for you.’

 

 

Author: Britney Wilkes

Copyright © 2010-2012 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

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Published in: on July 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Common King

The king is not to be approached by the commoners. They are set apart. The royalty have a different set of rules than general individuals in society have. In much older times even the queen, the very wife of the king, could only approach him after he gave permission by reaching out his golden sceptre. They eat the finest food and wear the finest clothes. Their servants provide all their necessities throughout the day, and there are even chosen servants to assist in dressing the royalty. There is a royal blood line that is traced and marked through generations, separated and set apart. The birth of royalty is marked with grand and lavish celebrations. Costly gifts are offered in their honor, respect is demanded, and loyalty is more than expected. The common individuals cannot approach the king in his world because he doesn’t fit in to his world …and then came Jesus.

The King of all kings was birthed to a young girl named Mary. She was unknown in society, but more importantly she was betrothed to a common carpenter named Joseph. She had never known a man. Her pregnancy was frowned upon and not accepted. When the time for Jesus to be born came Mary and Joseph were traveling back home and all the inns were full. Thus, Jesus was born in a manger in the small town of Bethlehem. There was no grand celebration, no one announced his birth. Even the name of Jesus was common in the time in which He was born. And yet, Jesus Christ is indeed the King among all kings.

The word reads that one day at the name of Jesus that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. His name brings healing. His words evoke praise. Even the shadow of Jesus as He passed by brought healing to individuals. The educated scribes could not compare to His wisdom. The theorists were baffled by His teachings. Jesus Christ the King ate common meals with sinners. He appeared not to care as much about the appearance, but focus more on the heart of the individuals He came into contact with. The world wasn’t prepared for a King who wore sandals and traveled by foot. The world didn’t expect a King that kept company with a murderer, tax collector, and common fisherman. The world didn’t know what to do with a King that physically touched people…broken, wounded people even. Jesus reached out and physically placed His hands on the lepers, the literal outcast of society. But that was Jesus, that was the King. A Man who took time for the simple and the common person. A Man who stopped and made time for the broken and the blind, the needy and the hurting. A Man who knew the secret truth of the heart and still loved the person.

I sang a song years ago in an Easter cantata called ‘One Life at a Time’. The first lines are so true.. ‘He was a Man who laughed with children….who was not afraid to cry. A Man who stopped to listen while the world hurried by.’ And it’s true. He was a Man who took time for even the children. Once the disciples attempted to keep some kids from bothering Jesus, and His response was beautiful.. ‘Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’ Mathew 19:14

My daughters and I were going to town yesterday. We were listening to Jason Crabb with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sing ‘I’m Amazed that You Love Me’. It’s an absolutely beautiful song. After it was over I looked at my 4-year-old and she was crying. When I asked her what was wrong she said that Jesus made her happy. She pointed to her chest and asked if heaven was in her heart, because she felt so happy. I cried, and today I cried again, because during church my 4-year-old asked Jesus into her heart. How amazing is it that we serve a God who makes Himself real to the children? Even as adults we sometimes are quick to push the kids to the side, to not be bothered with them in the moment, but not Jesus. Not the King we serve. It’s their simple faith. It’s their trusting. It’s their desire to have the security of a Savior. The kingdom of heaven is made up of those such as this. The ones that love Him, desire Him, and accept Him. I am in so much awe of His love for His people. What an amazing gift we have received…a King that desires a sincere relationship with His people.

 

Author: Britney Wilkes

Copyright © 2010-2012 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

Published in: on July 24, 2012 at 9:07 am  Leave a Comment  

It’s Beautiful

“I just love him.” I smiled when she told me, but a certain place within my heart ached. I was talking with a lady at work and asked her how long she and her husband had been married. 43 years…and her face still lit up when she told me. I asked her what the secret was and her smile grew even wider, “I just love him.” I listened as the ladies I sat with spoke about their husbands. One said that her husband claims he knew he would marry her when he was only 13 years old. They all agreed that they each were married to their best friend and felt they had found their ‘soul mate’.

I wasn’t sure what had prompted me at the time to speak up, but I did.. “I don’t think I’ll do the married thing again.” I said. Curious eyes looked at me. I explained that I didn’t feel so broken anymore but didn’t know if I had it in me to do it again. And though my best friend’s argue and disagree with me about this, I truly feel that I’m ok alone. When it all comes down to it, I’m not certain that I have the ability to love without limits again. I’m not certain I can commit my heart to a man because of the hard reality that the same commitment may not be given in return. Some call it fear. Some may label it as insecurity, but despite the choice of wording.. it’s still a gamble. The question is can I love a man with the possibility that he could leave? The ladies listened and they said they understood my way of thinking. They told me these feelings were normal, and like my best friend has told me before, they say that I will feel this way until I didn’t anymore…and there is no time limit on when the change will occur.

I thought about it some and allowed my mind to remember some old pains. I began to justify my feelings because of another’s actions that occurred a little while back. My best friend’s voice filled my mind.. ‘You’ve got to change your way of thinking about this.’ So I began to pray, and after some time I began to feel the Spirit begin to minister to me. For all my questions about love… for all my fears and insecurities…I was reminded that I wasn’t the only one who has ever questioned the loyalty of the ones they’ve loved. Millions of others have suffered through greater pains than I will ever know, and though the pain was great, love eventually was greater still.

Jesus Christ left the majesty of heaven. He was born into a society that wasn’t really among the upper crust at all. His birth wasn’t acceptable in society considering Mary and Joseph hadn’t even married before she found herself pregnant. He worked as a carpenter, there were no servants to announce His arrival as royalty had. He held no worldly possessions. Jesus knew no sin…He simply loved us. He loved us so much that He willingly laid down His life. When He prayed in the garden, His closest friends couldn’t even stay awake to help Him pray. When Peter was questioned about his following Jesus he denied even knowing Him. When the crowd could have chosen to free Him, they chose a murderer over Him. Jesus knew pain. He knew what it was like to be absolutely forsaken by the ones He adored, but He just loved us. That’s the reason He endured all He did. He just loved us.

‘Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die. But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.’ Romans 5:7-8

There are many beautiful passages in the Word of God, and these verses are certainly no exception. Jesus Christ died for my sins. He took my faults, my failures, the wrong intentions of my heart, the poor and careless decisions, and bore them on a hill called Calvary. He spilled His life’s blood so that I could be redeemed. His is such a beautiful sacrifice, and one that is taken for granted daily by the people He chose to die for.

How many times have we continued in sin, chose the hurtful words in moments of anger, went to places and done things we shouldn’t because it allows temporary satisfaction? How many times have we carried un-forgiveness in our heart toward someone, and justified it because of the pain we feel? In doing so we take away from the sacrifice Jesus gave.

Even still He did it, because of His love. Jesus knew that we could choose to love Him and serve Him faithfully, or we could halfheartedly call ourselves Christians and occasionally acknowledge Him. Jesus knew we could walk away to our own desire, and He even knew we could never choose Him at all. But He just loves us. And this is who I’ve committed my life to. This is unconditional love. And in looking at His sacrifice from this perspective my hurt lessens, my pain seems so small in comparison. It’s beautiful.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

 

 

Author: Britney Wilkes

Copyright © 2010-2012 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

Published in: on July 21, 2012 at 9:53 pm  Comments (1)  

Do You Think You’re Useless?

Am I the only one that struggles with self-worth, or do you have issues with this sometimes too? “I’m not _________ enough, I don’t measure up, I’m not as good as so and so, I’ve done ____________ and there’s no way God could ever use me again.” You can fill in the blanks, right? Or is it just me? If we’re all being honest here, we all struggle with these questions from time to time. Even Sister Super-Christian and Brother Never-Does-Wrong. Everyone. No one is immune.

 

I think this is one the devil’s most meaningful tasks for the believer, and he does it well. If he can make us doubt then he may be able to make us quit, or at the least, hold back a good bit. I admit–I’ve found myself for the last little bit struggling with my worth, with my calling, and wondering if I’m making any kind of positive impact for Christ on the world around me. I’m trying, but in and of myself I seem to come up short. And I’m one of the so-called “good girls” who has never really done much wrong. No alcohol has ever crossed these lips. No cigarette has injured my lungs. I’ve never even spoken a curse word. I’ve been a faithful wife to one husband and I’ve served the Lord since I was a child (thank you, Mama!). I never went wild or did any of the crazy things of the world. I’m still relatively naive (as I find out quite regularly–which makes me all the more thankful for my upbringing–THANK YOU MAMA!!). So, I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Then what’s her problem? How can she feel worthless or useless?” And yet there is the struggle…

 

Please don’t misunderstand my words. The only bragging being done in my previous remarks is on my Jesus and my Mama because I have been kept. ALL praise goes to God for giving me a Mama that prayed and taught and loved me so much that I was somehow able to be relatively unaffected by the craziness of the world. But the fact that I still struggle leads me to wonder about the struggle for those of you who weren’t as blessed as I was–those who weren’t protected from the harm, from the sin, or the pain, or from the wild and crazy. If I struggle, then surely some of you do as well. So tonight as I was reading, this came to life for me. (I love it when He does that!) I hope it will help someone.

 

Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods; Ezra 1:7

 

It was time for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt, and King Cyrus called the people to work. God put a hunger in their hearts to see their God’s house put back into shape. People donated time, talents, and finances to make this possible. Some things could be reproduced, but some things had to be reclaimed. The vessels of the house of the Lord were original pieces with a purpose. They were made to serve the Lord. The devil (represented in this passage by old king Neb) had stolen those things from God’s house, and they had been used for evil purposes. Imagine someone taking an offering plate from your church and using it as a tip jar in the local bar. Disgusting, right? But, in essence, that is what they did! They took the goblets that were used to quench the thirst of God’s chosen priests and made toasts to their false gods. It’s ridiculous and disgusting to think about. But leave it to God to turn things around. He is so faithful!! When King Cyrus gained control, he took control and got busy about the Lord’s work. And he put things back in place, as they should have been all along. Like nothing had ever happened. How beautiful is this?!

 

I may have looked at those vessels and said, “Ick! These things were used for such a bad purpose that I think we should just get new ones. Wouldn’t want to cross-contaminate God’s stuff with that mess.” But, like the anointing and the call God has on your life, these vessels were too precious to be reproduced. They were reclaimed, cleaned up, and put back into use in their rightful place–doing the work of the Lord. Where these vessels had been, and what they had been used for didn’t matter anymore, only where they were now.

 

Maybe someone reading this has, at one time, served the Lord whole-heartedly, but now struggles with having a relationship with Him. Maybe you have gone so far away that your life can only be seen as someone who “used to be a vessel in the house of the Lord.” Oh, but my sweet friends, let me tell you that it does not matter where you are now, or where you have been. Our Father is seeking you out, and He will turn things around for you. Let His cross contaminate the sin, doubt, self-loathing, and fear in your heart! Maybe you think that you have been too disgusting, too sinful, or used in all the wrong ways for all the wrong things. But I want you to know that to Him your past, once it’s under His precious blood, is simply that–your past. There is no need for you to be reproduced replaced, because you are being reclaimed and called to serve the Lord. You are being RECLAIMED tonight! If you turn to Him, He can make you like new. He can restore you as if nothing had ever happened. You are His precious, precious child. His love for you is so much deeper than your mistakes and your doubts. Where you have been does not matter. But where you are going matters more than anything else. It is of utmost importance that you allow Him to reclaim you. He loves you with an everlasting love. He wants you to know that you are not useless. You are not worthless. You are priceless!

 

 

Author: Trish Brannon

Copyright © 2010-2012 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

Published in: on July 18, 2012 at 10:04 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday the 13th! A Good Day to be Alive!

“This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Today is Friday, July 13th, 2012. Yes, that’s right, it’s Friday the 13th! My best friend, just messing around, made some remark about Friday the 13th and I jokingly told her the above scripture in response. But it made my brain begin to wiggle…

I hear so many people say, “Oh man, I should stay in the bed tomorrow because it’s Friday the 13th. Something bad is going to happen!” If you go to the home page of your internet provider, you’ll probably see some story about bad luck and how to avoid it, particularly on this day. All day long when anything goes amiss, you are likely to hear someone say, “Well, it’s Friday the 13th. It’s always a bad day.” I can’t help but roll my eyes at these kinds of remarks. Lucky pennies and rabbit’s feet (which is just gross (and weird), if you ask me) are not what anyone needs to manage their way through this day. Or any day!

If you can see through God’s eyes, then you can see that this day has been gifted to you by Him! Though there may be strife, pain, stress, heartache and bad hair for some, it is still a gift that you have been given. A gift…my boys had their birthday party this past weekend. I had “the talk” with them before the party. You know, the one where you tell them that even if they hate the gift, or if they already have the gift– even if it was a Barbie Doll covered in pink glitter—they had the obligation to say how much they appreciated the gifts they received because these people didn’t have to spend their time and money on Noah and Samuel. But they cared enough to do so. And for that we should show our appreciation. (For the record, there were no Barbie’s and the boys genuinely loved everything!) When you receive a gift, it is yours to do with as you wish.

Some may want to trade it in for something different, some may put it in a closet and pass it on to the next person who may enjoy it more, some may use it until it falls apart, some may hold it close and not use it for a long time for fear of losing it, some may save it for just the right occasion, but whatever we do with our gift is our choice.

How do you choose to use your gift today? Here are a few options:

· You can whine about your circumstances or shine through them.

· You may be reluctant about the situations you face or be resilient in the face of them.

· You can be bitter about the pain or determine to be better in spite of it all, or because of it all!

· You can worry about things, or you can worship the One who knows all things and is carrying you.

· You can frown and furrow your brow, or you can turn that frown upside down and let everyone see your beautiful smile!

The outcome of this day will not be determined by the fact that the day of the month and the day of the week happen to bring us to Friday the 13th. The outcome of your day will be determined by your choices. This day is a gift…what will you do with your gift? I know what I’m going to do—I’m going to eat leftover Chinese food for breakfast (that’s right, it’s good—don’t judge me!), then I’m going to shine, worship, smile and be the best me I can be today. Thank You, Lord for this gift. This is the day that You have made for me, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!!

 

P.S. I don’t believe in luck…I have Jesus!

 

 

Author: Trish Brannon 

Copyright © 2010-2012 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

Published in: on July 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

My Unbelief

“Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” -Mark 9:24

This boy had suffered with an evil spirit for years. The word isn’t exact and doesn’t tell us how many years, but we do know that from childhood this spirit had tried to kill him either by burning him in fire, or by drowning him in water. I can’t begin to imagine the horror this father felt. My heart breaks when my children are sick with a cold. So the idea that a demonic spirit had so consumed this child that it had tried to kill him… is unfathomable for me.

I would imagine that hearing Jesus was near and could heal his son was bittersweet. No doubt he had already tried everything in his power to help his son. I’m certain that he might have even felt guilty at the doubt he felt when he heard of Jesus, because of all the times he had tried before and failed. Of course, hope outweighed his uncertainty, and he takes his son to Jesus. He is met by Jesus’ disciples. They tried to cast the demon out and couldn’t. Doubt immediately began talking to that father.. “Why did you waste your time with Jesus? It hasn’t worked before, why would it work now?”

Don’t you know that this father was about at his wit’s end? Can’t you imagine that he didn’t know what else to do? And then Jesus walks into the midst of all the confusion. The religious elders, the scribes, were arguing with the disciples and Jesus asked them what was going on? The father didn’t even wait for them to answer, instead he yells out from the crowd and says, “I’ve brought you my son. The disciples tried to heal him and it didn’t work.” Jesus called for the son to be brought to him, and immediately that spirit began acting up, because it recognized the presence and the power of God.

Jesus told the man the same thing that is still true for us today. “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Now this is where I relate to that father. Immediately, he answers Jesus, and with tears in his eyes, he says.. “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”

How absolutely honest and beautifully sincere is that? It’s real. Lord I believe, but there is this unbelief that I have that you have to help me with because my son needs you.

I have found myself in the same place… desperate, and calling on God to forgive my shortcomings…knowing they aren’t right, but uncertain of how to fix them. Lord, I believe you are the son of God, born of a virgin. I believe you lived a sinless life and gave your life willingly as the perfect sacrifice, so that my sins could be forgiven by the precious blood you shed on Calvary. I believe you died on the cross, were laid to rest in a borrowed tomb, bound Satan.. and then rose on the third day. I believe you ascended to heaven, where you sit at the right hand of God. I believe if I confess my sins your blood is sufficient enough to cover and forgive me of those sins. I believe the trumpet is going to sound, and those who are dead and knew Christ are going to bust out of their graves. And then those which remain are going to be called up to meet you in the air.

I believe all of that. I believe you are who you say you are. I believe you can do what you say you can do…..but Lord, can you help me guide my life? Can you help me make the right decisions? Can you keep my kids safe? Can I trust you to help me pay my bills? Can I trust you to help me put food on my table, and clothes on my children’s back? Can I trust you to heal my marriage? Can I trust you to help me forgive? Can I trust you with all the things I don’t understand?

What is beautiful in this passage is that Jesus took this man’s faulted faith, and worked with it. His son was healed in the next moment. Jesus didn’t fault that man for being honest. He didn’t fault that man for being real. He just used what the man offered.

Offer your best to Jesus. Your limitations and failures don’t change who God is. He can take what you offer and make a miracle.

Have you allowed Satan to lie to you, and tell you that because you aren’t perfect, and you don’t have a perfect faith, you can’t be used of God? You absolutely can, and God absolutely can use you. We serve a God who makes beauty from ashes. He can create a miracle from your misery. You just have to trust that God is greater than your unbelief.

And to answer all of our uncertainty; Yes, God can be trusted, and He is more than enough to meet every need we possess.

Author: Britney Wilkes

Copyright © 2010-2012 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

Published in: on July 12, 2012 at 7:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Needing Jesus

He had been rude. His words were offensive toward me. Not only had he insulted me, but he had lied. He wasn’t the Christian man he had portrayed himself to be. In my mind I was ready to completely write this individual off. In my frustration over the situation I told a friend of mine what happened. He listened and then offered some insight. Right when I knew he would agree that I shouldn’t talk to this man again, God used my friend to speak to me. The man’s actions toward me were wrong, definitely, but this action he said, “Was only a symptom of needing Jesus.”

I was caught off guard. Of course he needed Jesus, I thought, men who have Jesus in their heart don’t say such things. When I began to argue my point I told him I agree, he needed Jesus in a real way. My friend said.. “Jesus revealed himself in a variety of ways to a variety of different people. Which Jesus will you choose to be?”

There was no arguing. In my anger and being offended I neglected to see a soul that needed Jesus. When it all comes down to it, anything that displays something aside from love, forgiveness, and faithfulness, goes against everything Jesus taught and allows us as Christians the opportunity to speak the truth to an individual’s life.

 “A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34

Love one another. It’s an easy statement to make. People have made so many catchy phrases in an attempt to mask the reality of the statement. “Well, I’ll love them but I don’t have to like them.”..”I’ll love my neighbor, but pray they aren’t sitting beside me.” The real catch to Jesus’ words came after His statement ‘love one another’..He said, ’love one another..as I have loved you.’

Christ’s love is all consuming; it covers all the imperfections our flesh sees so easily. Christ’s love offers mercy to those that have taken advantage of his forgiving power. Christ’s love offers forgiveness when every back has been turned and every ear closed. Christ’s love offers hope to situations that are so shadowed and polluted by sin and its loss.

His love is easy to share with your best friend, or the sweet elderly lady you sit near at church. It’s easy to teach your children about Christ’s love, but another situation completely when we begin to love the individual that we deem as undeserving.

For this reason it is important to talk to our Father, communicate with God. Not only talking in prayer with Him, but allow Him to speak to our spirit and heart by reading His word. Begin to pray for those who have wronged you.

Anger, pride, jealousy, disrespect, unfaithfulness. These are all symptoms of a soul that needs Jesus. When you begin to view other’s actions in this light the picture becomes slightly different. In ways in becomes clearer. This person is only displaying a need that they have for God in their life. It’s our choice then. How will we respond? What Jesus will we display? How can we display one characteristic of our Savior and not the rest? Love one another….in the selfless, it’s really not about me anyway, kind of way…and watch God move.

 

Author: Britney Wilkes

Copyright © 2010-2012 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

Published in: on July 10, 2012 at 11:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

I’ve Been Through Enough

The doctor told my best friend’s Mama that she had cancer. It was advanced and she needed to begin treatment as soon as possible. Instead, she sought God. She never took any medication, aside from extra-strength Tylenol. She bled from every possible place to bleed from. Her kidneys quit functioning for months. My best friend tells me you could literally see the sickness moving beneath her skin. She burned with fever, she went through periods of extreme delirium. There is no earthly reason this woman should be alive, but she is. Today she pastors a church, and I receive voice mails frequently where she reminds her church to pray for one another. She is a miracle, crafted out of the divine mercy of God.

 

I was driving a Ford Thunderbird at least 94mph. I lost control of the car and flipped it several times into a light pole. The light pole broke over me. The power lines hung only feet over my car. Paramedics moved pieces of my broken vehicle and were able to remove me from the car. There is no earthly reason I should be alive today, but I cried out to a God to save me, and He did. Today I sing on my churches praise and worship team and I write devotions. I am a miracle, crafted out of the divine mercy of God.

 

When I counseled in prison I spoke with men who consumed unfathomable amounts of alcohol and drugs. Those men will be among the first to tell you that they shouldnt be alive. They did every conceivable thing to destroy their lives, but they didn’t. Many of them will tell you that prison saved their life because it kept them from themselves. Each man I spoke to was a walking miracle.

 

I can’t tell you of all the testimonies I’ve heard of God’s ability to provide for his people. Most all will say that God made a way out of no way, He brought order to chaos. He spoke peace to turmoil. When the children of Israel stood before the Red Sea it absolutely appeared that it was over. Pharaoh and his army were behind them, and they were fast approaching. But God made a highway out of an ocean. They were able to walk through the impossibility that kept them from moving forward. Paul and Silas were bound by shackles in prison. More people were against them than were for them. The situation didn’t look good at all. But God caused and earthquake to come, the shackles were loosed, and Paul and Silas walked out of the prison that bound them.

 

I battle depression, and it is tiring at times. My best friend tells me I don’t think right, and she’s right actually. Recently, I began to pray about my depression. I needed help. I cast my fleece before the Lord and I laid it out for Him. Wouldn’t you know it, that very night my best friend called me and gave me the answer that I was looking for. Today I’m ok. I’m happy. God answered my prayer. For me, that was a miracle. I could go on and on about God’s faithfulness to me. For months I worked a job where the money just wasn’t enough to pay the bills. There wasn’t a budget that could fix my finances. I couldn’t afford a budget. But every month, my bills were paid. There wasn’t one night that me or my children went without. That was God.

 

If someone were to ask me why I chose to follow Him, I believe I would quote Janet Pascal and say ‘Beacuse I’ve been through enough to know that He’ll be enough for me, I’ve come through too many times and that puts my mind at ease for good, I’ll stake my very life that He’s gonna tae care of me, because I’ve been through enough to know that He’ll be enough for me.’

 

My best friend never questions God. She’s never questioned His ability to bring her out. That’s not me. I’ve questioned Him. I’ve almost walked away from Him. But, if you were to ask us together why we believe in God, I’m sure we would both tell you that we’ve been through enough to know that He’ll be enough to meet our needs.

 

God’s been good to me. If you havent made the decision to follow Him, to seek after His will for your life, I encourage you to do that . And once you allow Him to be enough for you, He will show Himself as more than enough for you.

 

Published in: on July 3, 2012 at 1:11 pm  Comments (3)  

Mourning Saul

“And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people..” 1Samuel 9:2
 
“And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people.” 1Samuel 9:17
“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” 1Samuel 15:22,23 
“And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.
 
Samuel was birthed from an impossible situation. His mother Hannah couldn’t have children. The Word tells us in 1Samuel 1:5 that the Lord had shut up her womb, but she sought God and allowed herself to become broken before Him. She asked for a son and vowed to give him back to God for His use. God honored Hannah’s prayer and blessed her with a son, Samuel. True to her word, she “..leant him to the Lord.” 1Samuel 1: 28, Samuel ministered before the Lord. The Word says he found favor in the eyes of God, as well as in the eyes of man. He sought after the will of God so much that every word he spoke was inspired by God and “that none of his words fell to the ground.” (1 Samuel 3:19). There was a greater purpose in everything he said. At the appointed time, he began to judge Israel. He built an altar there and lead Israel under the hand of God. But as Samuel grew and his sons were born, he allowed them to also serve as judges over Israel. But unlike Samuel they chose not to follow after God and allowed bad judgement and perverseness to come into the land. So the people of Israel asked for a king as the other nations surrounding them had. This wasnt God’s intent for the nation of Israel, but he allowed a king to be chosen. God spoke unto Samuel and directed him to Saul, thus Saul became the first king of Israel.

 Saul was a handsome man. The word says there wasn’t a “goodlier” man than Saul throughout all of Israel. He was tall, and well-built. The word says from his shoulders up he stood taller than all the men of Israel. Saul looked the part of a king, but that is about as far as Saul’s ability to be king went. By his outward appearance the nation of Israel felt they had a wonderful king, and one deserving of their loyalty. This was the man… the king that they had asked for. But Saul’s actions were not as pleasing as his outward appearance. He made poor decisions. Instead if obeying the word of the Lord, Saul did what he felt was right. And because of this God rejected him as king.

 

I think of Samuel at this point. I wonder how he felt. Did he feel he had failed? Remember, Samuel was birthed for the sole purpose of being used by God. Every decision he made had been pleasing to God, every word he spoke was so intent on pleasing God that they never fell short of what he spoke. Samuel had done everything right. Samuel had made the right decisions and said the right words. And then…Saul.

Can any of you relate to Samuel? Has there ever been any of you who’ve said, I’ve made all the right decisions in life… I’ve done everything I was supposed to do, I guarded my heart, I guarded my mouth, I did everything that I felt God would be pleased by, and yet, everything still fell apart.

I wonder if Samuel questioned himself, I wonder if he thought he’d missed the will of God completely. The word says Samuel mourned after Saul, he grieved after his loss. Samuel recognized something had been lost, something of significance. But while Samuel mourned, God was still working. And though Saul had failed and it broke Samuel’s heart, there was another king that God had already purposed in his heart. God asked Samuel “How long will you mourn for Saul?” God recognized that there was time to remember the loss because He asked how long, how long instead of why. There was reason to hurt, but there was a greater purpose in moving on.

So I ask you, how long will you mourn for Saul? What is your Saul? A relationship that you’d given yourself to? A job that had invested all you had in? Children that you’ve prayed about day and night? What have you lost? What caused you to question yourself? What caused you to feel like a failure? There’s a time to mourn that loss. I think it’s healthy for an individual to say.. “This was mine and I loved it. I had planned on this to always be mine, and now it’s not, so I hurt.” Go through your pain, mourn the loss, and then move on. There is a greater purpose and a greater joy after the mourning. How long will you mourn for Saul? There is a king waiting for you. It’s as if God is saying, “I can’t anoint the king I’ve chosen for you as long as you’re mourning after Saul. The king can’t take his throne until you lay to rest the past and look toward the future”.

God has purposed a king for your life. Your king may not look like what you imagined. David didn’t, but David was a man after God’s own heart. David acted like a king, he didn’t just look like a king. But Samuel had to move on from Saul so that David could begin his reign. How long will you mourn? There’s a king waiting.

 

Author: Britney Wilkes
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Published in: on July 2, 2012 at 10:05 am  Leave a Comment