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  • Shannon Bryant

Time of Refreshing

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Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

Proverbs 11:25b


A couple of weeks ago I hosted a few special women at my home for a time of refreshing birthed from Proverbs 11:25, “Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” I didn’t know initially what it would look like but one thing was clear, every lady would have something to refresh someone who was there. We’d have food and other refreshments but the main course would be a time of encouraging, and comforting one another with the encouragement and comfort that God had so graciously given us.




Whether it was a life experience. Encounter with Jesus. A scripture. A prayer. It was my prayer and deep desire that God placed in my heart that each one would have something to bring to the dining table so that others could taste and see the goodness of the Lord from one another.


Me and two of a few ladies nearing the end of our time of refreshing gathering. God is so good and faithful!



This spiritual “potluck” would be one of the most memorable feasts I’ve had to date. I’m still being nourished by the impactful and heartfelt things shared. The memories of laughter still bring a smile, a chuckle, and joy to my heart. My eyes still get teary as I think of the goodness of God and how He demonstrated His faithfulness and showed up in a uniquely powerful way at a little table of women. He was the Guest of Honor and I thank Him for blessing us with His Presence and refreshing our souls with Living Water and we are still living out the overflow even now.


Though the theme of the day was refreshing others, God impressed in my heart that there is no real refreshing without relinquishing. There must be a letting go of some things to the Lord to make way for more fullness of Him. Just as a glass cannot be refreshed, or filled unless something is poured out. There must be a release. A letting go.


God moved in such a beautiful way that day and I cannot share it all but I do want to share with you some spiritual appetizers. Refresh you and whet your appetite with just a morsel of what God blessed us with.


There were three women in the Bible that God highlighted for our small feast and the headline and common thread that connected them was relinquishing. They all left something with the Lord.



The Samaritan Woman at the Well

The broken unnamed woman at the well set out to draw water one day but unbeknownst to her Jesus would draw her. Much like the water pot, she carried she was empty inside but after having an encounter with Jesus, she was filled with Living Water and left behind her water pot and went back to her village and refreshed others and told the people to come to see a man who told her everything she ever did and many souls were won to Christ because of the word of her testimony.


Hannah

Though the woman at the well was barren spiritually before her encounter with Jesus, Hannah was barren physically. Hannah was heartsick, even to the point of not being able to eat. Hannah so badly desired a child and she prayed in deep anguish for God to give her a son. She prayed that God would look on her affliction and cried out in so much anguish of heart that the prophet Eli thought she was drunk.


Hannah made a vow to the Lord that if He gave her a son that she would give him back to Him. God did not forget Hannah and blessed her with Samuel. Soon after his birth she told her husband Elkanah to wait after the boy was weaned then she would take him to the Tabernacle and leave him there with the Lord completely. I think it is very important to note that when it was time for Hannah to give her son back to the Lord her husband Elkanah said, “May the Lord help you to keep your promise.” This implies that it wasn’t going to be an easy thing for Hannah to do. Having a son was a deep desire of her heart but it’s pretty obvious that the deepest desire of Hannah’s heart was for the Lord of Hosts who looked upon her affliction and blessed her with a son.


It was after Hannah gave her son back to God that she was refreshed. She worshipped and gave Him praise! She said, “My heart rejoices in the Lord! The Lord has made me strong! I rejoice because you rescued me. No one is like the Lord! There is no one beside You; there is no Rock like our God!" (1 Samuel 2:1-2)


Woman with the Alabaster Jar

Lastly was the woman with the alabaster jar. We don’t know too much about her but that she was a sinful/immoral woman who one day heard Jesus was in town having dinner with the Pharisees. Picture this as she so desperately and courageously makes her way through the proud, high-minded Pharisees, despising her shame to get to Jesus, who forgives all her sins. She makes it to Jesus and falls down at His feet, kneeling, weeping and tears fall on His feet as she wipes them with her hair. She kisses his feet continuously while pouring the expensive sweet-smelling oil on Jesus’ feet. A display of deep humility, gratitude, abandonment, and unbridled worship to the One who washed away her sins and the stream of her tears and wefts of her hair washed His feet.


As she anointed Jesus’ feet with the oil she didn’t say a word. She just wept. Wiped. Worshipped. Poured. The oil she poured was very expensive and is said to be about a year’s salary but the breath of her praise poured, in the form of tears from the heart of one who had sinned much, was forgiven much, and as a result, she loved much, is priceless and her story has transcended generations and we glean from the oil she so freely poured out in reckless abandonment and gratitude to Jesus.


The prevailing cord that connects these women is that there was something or someone that they relinquished. For the woman at the well, it was the pot, but it was more than the pot. For Hannah, it was her child, but it was more than her child. For the woman with the alabaster jar, it was the oil, but it was more than the oil. It was letting go of absolutely everything no matter the cost. Withholding nothing, not even themselves. Giving all to the One who gave His all for them.


I ask you, what do you need to relinquish today? What affliction do you desire God to look upon? What or who does God want you to give to Him completely? What do you keep carrying? What's weighing you down? What have you been giving to God and taking it back? Giving it to God, taking it back. Repeat…


What or who consumes you so much that it distracts, deters, discourages, or obstructs you from the fullness of God and His plan for your life? Ponder in your heart. Pray and seek God. He knows all about it and His hands are wide open.


What do you need to place in His hands completely?


Past trauma?

Unforgiveness?

Bitterness?

Pride?

People pleasing?

Addiction?

Hurt?

Worry?

Condemnation?

Forgiving yourself?

Rejection?

A particular person or situation?

Your children?

Your future?

You?



This is a “mock’ alabaster jar that we had for the gathering of refreshing. Each lady was given one for relinquishing. We all wrote down some things to give to God completely. Notice the top spout is so small that once you put the little piece of paper in there was no way you could pull it back out.


I encourage you today, to ponder in your heart what you need to give to God and leave it with Him completely. Determine in your heart not to carry it anymore and not take it back. I pray that your trust will be anchored and that the Lord will help you, help me to leave it in His hands.


I hope that you are compelled to pour out your own oil of praise, worship, gratitude, and thanksgiving to the Lord for all He's done. All He's forgiven you for. For His goodness. For His proven faithfulness and immeasurable love. And if you’re anything like we were that day, there might be some tears that pour out like oil for the goodness of your precious Savior, Redeemer, Healer, Restorer, and Lover of your soul from the “alabaster jar” of your heart. Blessed times of refreshments from the Lord. Hallelujah. . .


I pray that you have a joy-filled Thanksgiving and don’t forget to refresh others with what God has graciously refreshed you with. Isn’t this the point of it all? Impacting lives now and for eternity? Nothing wasted and all to the glory of God



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Scripture references: Luke 7:36-46

John 4:6-17

1 Samuel 1:10, 22-27



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