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Encouragement for Today - June 27, 2006

  • 2006 Jun 27


Encouragement for Today

Principle 1


“If Only”

Luann Prater, Proverbs 31 Speaker and Writer   


Key Verse:

John 4:39, “He told me everything I ever did.” (NIV)



The woman at the well; look her up in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of me.  We all have labels we dislike: addict, unfit, shy, stuck-up, party girl, fat, arrogant, stupid, unproductive, quitter, alcoholic, cheapskate, unworthy.   Mine was “the woman at the well.”


Who was this woman?   If you are not familiar with her story, pause to read John 4:1-30.   What was her background?  We don’t have details but we can be sure that her misdirected life didn’t happen all at once.  It was achieved by believing and acting on one lie at a time.  This woman was on a desperate journey to find herself and her worth through men.


An encounter at a well between her and Jesus brought two lives together and changed one forever.  Through Jesus she found the love and worth she desperately desired – just as I did.  Her story delivers hope when divorce is claiming over two million victims each year, leaving broken lives and aching hearts in its wake.


I suspect this woman had been suffering from the “If Only” disease; the questioning of her life that causes her ‘dis’ (the absence or reversal of) ‘ease’ (freedom).   “If only I hadn’t made that wrong decision;” “if only I had married a man who found value in me;” “if only my children would show me respect;” “if only my parents were different;” if only…if only…if only.


Last week I spoke to a group of 100 women; 90 of them told me they felt unworthy, unloved and unimportant in the scheme of life.  It breaks my heart to hear this because I once believed this lie too.  I tried to find my worth in love; love from a man, love from my children, love from my friends, not realizing the love of God was freely offered me and would satisfy.


Life can be a monotonous pattern.  We continue to do the same thing over and over and over again.  Though we may find temporary satisfaction, we will get thirsty again.   We will keep trying to quench our thirst with a different man, a better job, a bigger house, another drink.


We live in a hurting world.  Haunting choices from the past linger in our lives and prevent us from being all that God intends for us to be.  Baggage doesn’t have to be a reality in your life.  God longs to give you an abundant life. . . if only   you will accept His life-giving water and leave your drought in the dust. 


My Prayer for Today:

Father, I pray for every woman who has been touched by the pain of divorce, whether as a wife or daughter.  I ask that you allow them to see their worth through Your eyes.  You, dear Lord, saw value in the woman at the well and without a doubt, You see it in each one of Your children.  Teach us to drink from Your life-giving water each day and live the abundant life You provide. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Application Steps: 

Focus on the flawed people in the Bible who called Jesus a friend.  He never sought perfect people, only people willing to follow a perfect Savior.


Make a promise to yourself never to use the words, “if only” again.  Drop a coin in a jar every time you slip and begin to linger in past mistakes.  See how poor you can become in the jar and how rich you can grow in the Lord.


Reflection Points:   

Why do I meditate on the past instead of focusing on my Savior?


How can I reflect God’s forgiveness to other hurting hearts?


When will I tell Satan, “Enough!”?  Today is the day to turn your back on the past, receive the living water of Christ, and begin to live the abundant life. 


Power Verses: 

John 4:13 -14, “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.” (NIV)


John 16:24, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.  Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”  (NIV)


Philippians 3:13, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (NIV)


Additional Resources:

“When Your Marriage Dies: Answers to Questions about Separation & Divorce”



Coming Out of the Dark, by Mary Southerland



When You’re Running on Empty, by Cindi McMenamin



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