Never Thirst Again

by Ginny Dent Brant

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will  thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14 (NKJV)

When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the watering hole, He actively sought her. He compared the water in her well to the Living Water that only He could offer. Her water would not completely satisfy one’s thirst, but His Water would give eternal life, welling up and supplying every need by its freshening springs. This woman of ill repute knew she was a sinner and accepted His gift of Living Water.

I, too, was a sinner, when I began to drink from the Living Water at age 16. Jesus sought me and bought me, but my father, Harry Dent, thought I was drinking too much from His Living Water.

For years I’d prayed for my father’s salvation. I even asked my professors at Columbia International University (CIU) to pray for him. My father had forbidden me to go there, but I went to drink in wisdom from the Bible. In due time, God answered my prayers. At age 48, he drank from the Living Water, attended the forbidden place—CIU—and jumped into the Lord’s work with both feet. Those professors who’d shaped my life became his mentors.

I never dreamed my father would spend 25 years serving God, write five Christian books, and develop a ministry in Romania. The one thing my father feared the most when I attended CIU was that I would become a missionary in a third world country. Little did he know—he would become that missionary!

In 1998, I traveled with my father to Romania. What a privilege to see the many churches he had helped to plant from the underground. At the request of the newly elected President of Romania, my father helped him bring Romania from communism to freedom.

After seeing all God had done through my father, I would lay my head on my pillow and shed tears of joy and gratitude. I was amazed God had gone so far beyond my prayers. In my spirit, I sensed difficult times were ahead, but I was never to forget what God had done in my father’s life.

Those difficult times came in the form of a disease called Alzheimer’s, which quickly diminished my father’s brilliant mind and left him in a constant state of confusion. I made a video of his life to remind him of what he had done in life. In a few years, he no longer knew the man in the video. For my family, our journey with this disease was like traveling through a dark tunnel. We desperately wanted to see a glimmer of light at the end, but we were engulfed in a cloak of sadness with no light in sight.

In my father’s last years, he did not know who we were or what was happening around him, yet one thing was certain. When he heard Christian music or heard the name of God, his countenance would light up. Sometimes, he would shout an “Amen” or bow his head to pray. As he was dying in my arms, his eyes were calmed with the gospel hymns I sang to comfort him.

The Living Water never dies. Those who drink from it, never thirst again.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. Brant’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in many TV and media interviews. Her recent book, Unleash Your God-given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer, was written with an oncologist after her cancer journey. Cancer prevention blog and more info at http://www.ginnybrant.com.

Join the conversation: Who have you seen transformed by the Living Water?

Safety in the Middle of God’s Will

by Ginny Dent Brant

And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.                                    Luke 12: 4-7 (NKJV)

As a trustee of the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention, I was privileged to spend several weeks with IMB workers at the Jibla Baptist Hospital in Yemen in July 1997.

When I arrived, I was like a fish out of water. Sweat rushed out of every pore in my body, when I was nearly caught smuggling Bibles across the border. After clearing customs, I noticed that all men and boys were walking around with jambeas (curved daggers) draped across their chests and machine guns proudly displayed on their backs. This was beyond the Wild Wild West. Welcome to Yemen!

Walking through the city with the field leader, I quietly stuffed my fears deep inside my gut and chattered as if nothing was different. The next night after arriving at the hospital, he updated me with alarming news. Rabid dogs were loose in the village, malaria was spreading, and terrorists threatened the hospital. Before I went to bed, he shared one last bit of news—the airlines had gone on strike. I was stranded. They had me at RABID DOGS! Sweet dreams!

Early the next morning when I heard machine gun fire outside my cave-like dwelling, I catapulted from bed and rushed into the young nurse’s room with whom I was staying. I had reached my FEAR FACTOR!  “Nothing appears safe here to me. What’s your definition of safe?” I asked.

Calm as a cucumber, she replied, “Safety is being in the middle of God’s will.”

I never forgot her words. When living became dangerous, these workers would pray and continue the work. I was ready to run and hide. Most did not fear for their lives. Why?  They were more concerned about submitting to the will of their loving heavenly Father, who determines their eternity and values them, than fearing what any man could do to them.

In Luke 12:4-7, Jesus is teaching his disciples while the multitudes are gathering around them to fear God first. We tend to fear what the world says about us and what man can do to us, but Jesus is warning his disciples that they have a mission to fulfill. The fear of powerless men should not be their greatest concern. Their greatest fear should be NOT fulfilling God’s call and purpose in their life. In time, most of these chosen followers would be martyred for spreading the gospel. Their eternal reward would be great.

The missionaries in Yemen taught me much. They were not afraid to give their lives for the cause. They humbly bowed before their loving God who cares for them deeply and only wants the best for them. He was preparing a place for them in His eternal kingdom.

When I turn on the news and see all the unrest and danger for Christians in Afghanistan, I remember the faithfulness of the missionaries in Yemen. Safety is being in the middle of God’s will. But when in Yemen, I carefully placed my foot in the tracks of their feet just to make sure!

May God’s people in America, who’ve had it easy compared to some parts of the world, find safety in the middle of His will and His loving arms. And may we pray fervently for those believers in Afghanistan.

About the author: Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. She served as a trustee of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1990-1998 and has done mission work in Yemen, Gaza, China, Romania, and The Czech Republic.

Ginny’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in media interviews nationwide. Her recent book, Unleash Your God-given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer, was written with commentary from an oncologist after her cancer journey. It has been featured on CBN, CTN, Atlanta Live, American Family Radio, etc. and has won four awards. Cancer prevention blog and more info at http://www.ginnybrant.com.

Join the conversation: Where do you find safety?

The Healing Power of Gratitude

by Ginny Brant @GinnytBrant

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)

The story of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving is one to ponder. After the most difficult year of their lives, these Christians gave thanks to God first and then to their Native American friends. They were able to remain grateful even after terrible trials and losses. The celebration is a wonderful example of the healing power of gratitude.

Imagine being close to starvation, losing half your family members, needing warmth and shelter, fearing strangers in a new land, and at times wondering if your journey was worth the losses. Yet, these Godly people practiced daily gratitude. And so should we—even in the deepest trials of our lives.

The Apostle Paul exhorted the young church in Thessalonica to give thanks in everything. This church was growing quickly and miraculously, but the consequences of their newfound faith resulted in much persecution and significant losses. In the previous chapter, he comforts their despair by explaining what will happen to those who’ve died in Christ. Then after a series of exhortations, he closes chapter 5 with the blessed hope that gives comfort to all our hearts—the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2020 is a year most people would like to erase from their memories. I couldn’t have imagined a worldwide pandemic, raging forest fires, and hurricanes, all bringing so much destruction and loss of life. Then destructive riots and political unrest turned American cities into war zones. There seemed to be bad news at every turn. Does Paul’s admonition ”in everything give thanks” also apply to 2020?

The Bible gives us no wiggle room—in everything give thanks—for this is the will of God in Christ for you. Paul prescribes a life of gratitude for all believers. We can be grateful because we can count on God using all circumstances in our lives for His glory and our good. Best of all, no matter what lies ahead, our eternal destination is secure.

According to the research of Dr. Robert Emmons, having an attitude of gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression. Dr. Murali Doraiswamy of Duke University Medical School, proclaims, “If thankfulness were a drug, it would be the world’s best selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system.” No wonder so many doctors are prescribing the practice of gratitude as a way to improve psychological, social and physical health.

Research clearly indicates that people who practice a lifestyle of gratitude are healthier and heal better. An attitude of gratitude promotes peace in the middle of life’s storms by calming the emotional brain. (Yet Paul prescribed having an attitude of gratitude over 1900 years ago before these outcomes were known!)

The art of practicing daily gratitude does not stop when bad news like cancer comes knocking at your door. Surviving chemotherapy was a blessing for me, even when I saw my bald reflection in a mirror. My husband was a wonderful gift to me, loving me unconditionally even though my appearance was less than appealing. The more I thanked God, the more I found contentment. I now appreciate that every day I’m alive is a gift.

Gratitude gives us a new story—a new beginning. Any trial, no matter how grim, will not have the final word. God has decreed eternal life for those who are truly His. This eternal perspective provides hope and healing for the weary, enabling us to bathe in gratitude, rather than grumbling. Paul’s prescription for a life of gratitude promotes healing and costs us nothing.

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The Healing Power of Gratitude – Insight on #Gratitude from @GinnyBrant on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. Brant’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in many TV and media interviews. Her recent book, Unleash Your God-given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer, was written with an oncologist after her cancer journey. Cancer prevention blog and more info at http://www.ginnybrant.com.

Join the conversation: What brings gratitude to your heart in 2020?

Drowning in Stress?

by Ginny Dent Brant @GinnyBrant

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  Philippians 4:8 (NKJ)

Hearing the words “you have cancer” just four months after my mother had died from cancer was a jolt to my entire body. The next week, the news got worse: “It’s aggressive.” But strike three came when my surgeon flashed my MRI up on the wall and said, “It appears your cancer has spread to other parts of your body.” It looked like a tornado had invaded my body. Was this really my MRI? Was this my ticket to Heaven?

The way we handle stress and emotions in the trials of our lives can determine our health and well-being. Stress releases a cocktail of hormones that can suppress or temporarily shut down our immune response. It’s normal to experience stress from time to time. However, when stress is constant, our body shifts from defense and repair to an inability to defend against disease. Where we focus our attention in the trials of our lives makes a difference.

God knew that stress would wreak havoc on our bodies, but in His wisdom He has given us remedies—things we can do to help our bodies to restore during troubling times. In the book of Philippians, Paul instructs us on dealing with difficult times that cause stress to rear its ugly head. He first points us to prayer and gratitude (in the preceding verses). Then he challenges us to refocus our mind and attention.

While writing Philippians, Paul was under house arrest and chained to a Praetorian Guard, awaiting to go on trial for his life. Yet his mind is not focused on his negative circumstances. He instructs us to meditate on the things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good reports, and those things that are worthy of praise. I call these “the good things.” Paul is admonishing us to refocus on “the good things” rather than the adverse circumstances around us.

Paul’s advice is well-taken. Drowning in the negative circumstances of our lives provides no benefit. Meditating on the truth of God’s Word, laying our concerns at His feet in prayer, praising Him for the blessings in our lives, and refocusing on “the good things” are all productive actions that give us hope. We know that God will use all things for our good and for His eternal purposes.

Paul’s imprisonment meant sharing the Gospel in ways he could not anticipate. Living under arrest gave him opportunities to witness, time away from the world to refocus, and solitude to write God’s Word.

Trials don’t last forever, but they do make us stronger. Research shows that people who practice a lifestyle of prayer, gratitude, and refocusing their thoughts on the “good things” daily are healthier and heal better.

So what did I do in the middle of a deadly and aggressive cancer journey?  I prayed more, I meditated on the truth in His Word, I sang His praises, I thanked Him for all the blessings, and I refocused on “the good things” along the way. I found that my cancer journey gave me time to refocus my life and eventually use my journey as a gift to help others. What’s good for the cancer patient is good for everyone. Where we focus our attention matters.

TWEETABLE
Drowning in Stress? – encouragement from @GinnyBrant on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. Brant’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in many TV and media interviews. Her recent book, Unleash Your God-given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer, was written with an oncologist after her cancer journey. Cancer prevention blog and more info at http://www.ginnybrant.com.

Join the conversation: On what do you focus when stress threatens to overtake you?

Torn Between Two Fathers

by Ginny Dent Brant @ginnybrant

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:33-34 NKJV

I grew up a card-carrying daddy’s girl who followed wherever her father went. For me that meant political rallies, the Capitol, and eventually the White House; my father served a Senator and three Presidents. He taught me how to dance, and we cut the rug to the same beat for many years.

That rug was pulled out from underneath me, when my father’s career caused me to move again. This devastating move motivated me to look beyond myself for answers to life’s disappointments. I got involved in Young Life, gave my life to Jesus, and began to grow in spiritual ways my parents did not understand. My father felt my dedication was misguided. He feared I might become a “gosh awful missionary” who lived in poverty.

Motivated by love, he blocked my path. He forbid me to attend a Bible College I felt God was leading me to. I was torn between my earthly father and my Heavenly Father. I wanted to please my father, but how should I deal with my spiritual promptings?

In the midst of my tears, my Heavenly Father brought Matthew 6:33 to comfort and guide me.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (NKJ).

I’d grown up in a life doused with worldly success. I’d never been at a crossroads where my faith in God and doing His will put me at odds with my own father. Yet this verse was instructing me not in man’s ways, but in God’s ways. His Kingdom and his desires must be first in my life—not my father’s worldly definition of success. This verse gave me the courage to step out in faith in obedience to God. It also gave me assurance that God would take care of “all these things”—in this case my concerns as I obeyed.

As I continued down the forbidden path and attended that Bible College, my dad continued to express his disapproving warning: “You’ll never be success in this world.” It was hard to say no to a man who advised presidents. It was devastating to realize my father and I were no longer dancing to the same beat.

My Heavenly Father was teaching me to dance to His  beat—a radically different definition of success. The dance with my Heavenly Father was so wonderful, I wanted my father to share in the joy and eternal significance I had found. Yet, we continued to twirl in different directions.

In desperation, I barraged the gates of Heaven for my dad. I endured subtle persecution. I sought the counsel of a wise professor. He advised me to keep praying, live my life as a witness and allow God to work in my dad’s life. I heeded his advice, prayed daily, and strived to let Dad see Jesus in me.

Looking back, I now realize God was working from the first moments I began to pray. One night, I left a plaque under his pillow that read, “The purpose of life is to serve God.” In 1978, my father surrendered his life to Christ. He gave up his political career to enter full-time ministry. The logo of his ministry came from that plaque. To get his training, my father entered the same Bible College he had forbidden me to attend!

When my father put God and His Kingdom first, He transformed my father from a political strategist to a Kingdom strategist—a man who would help the underground churches and the Romania come to freedom after Communism. My father became that missionary he’d once forbidden me to be.

My father and I were finally dancing to the same tune again. I was no longer torn between two fathers. We’d both learned the eternal significance of putting God and His kingdom first and dancing to His beat. It’s a lesson we struggle with daily. My heart continues to overflow with praise to God—even after my father’s passing to Heaven from Alzheimer’s disease. One day, we will dance again in eternity.

TWEETABLE
Torn Between Two Fathers – encouragement for #FollowingGod from @GinnyBrant on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate,

and adjunct professor. Brant’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in many TV and media interviews. Her recent book, Unleash Your God-given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer, was written with an oncologist after her cancer journey. Learn more at www.ginnybrant.com.   

Join the conversation: Have you ever experienced a conflict in guidance between the Lord and someone you respected? What did you do?