Monday, July 28, 2014


I remember many times hiking a trail in the mountains in the summer time, and constantly climbing and working my way up the trail, perspiring and gradually getting fatigued.  And then to happen upon a small cascade of clear cold water where I’d take my shoes and socks off and put my feet in the water.  You’ve probably done the same thing.  And maybe even splashed some water on your face or put your head under the cascade and let that cold water run over your head.  And then you sit down on a rock and drink from your water bottle and just relax for a while.  And then after a time, you get up and press on, having been refreshed by the cool mountain stream.

As you make your way through life, you find yourself getting fatigued, stressed, and worn.  You find yourself going uphill and the going gets tough.  And then something painful happens. 

You’re trying to follow Christ and obey what He teaches, and life seems to get harder.  Bad things happen.  People treat you different now that you talk about Jesus and do what He says is the right thing to do.  Not only is life unfair, but if you’re a believer in Jesus, you have an enemy now that you didn’t have before, and his name is Satan.  And he will do what he can to tempt you and discourage you and depress you and keep you from being all in for Christ. 

And you start to wonder, “Is there any relief in sight?”  The “good news” is “yes.  Relief and refreshment and renewal are very real and available.  So how do we get relief and refreshment?  He answer is found in Acts 3:19:  Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.  God will refresh you so that you can move forward in life with your life purpose.

To be refreshed means to be cooled.  It’s like a cool breeze on a hot day.  It’s a freedom from the heat.  It lifts your spirits.  The Bible talks about the importance of being refreshed:  Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat—refreshing (Proverbs 25:13 Mes).  Peter reminds us of the fires we walk through in life.  I beg you not to be unduly alarmed at the fiery ordeals which come to test your faith, as though this were some abnormal experience (1 Peter 4:12 Ph).

The Lord sends seasons of refreshing to cool our spirits.  Maybe you’re in the heat of spiritual battle, or in the heat of being mistreated and rejected, or in the fire of being ostracized and made fun of because you’re a Christ-follower, or you’re in the fire of loss and grief and pain.  And the Lord sends a cool breeze into your life.  He takes you away from the heat for a little while.  He   refreshes you.  And then you’re strengthened again to press forward with living.

When does God refresh us?  It’s when we make a turn toward God.  The Bible calls it “repentance.”  It means turning from our self-absorbed ways in order to follow Jesus in every area of our lives.  It’s turning from depending on myself to figure out life and turning to depend on God to direct my life in order to live out the life purpose He has given me, which is what will truly fulfill me.

We may search in many ways and places for refreshing, but the only lasting soul-satisfying refreshing is found in the reality of God’s presence.

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