DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT MONDAY - Times Of Refreshing.
"Many do not recognize the fact as they ought, that Satan has got men fast asleep in sin and that it is his great device to keep them so. He does not care what we do if he can do that. We may sing songs about the sweet by and by, preach sermons and say prayers until doomsday, and he will never concern himself about us, if we don't wake anybody up. But if we awake the sleeping sinner he will gnash on us with his teeth. This is our work - to wake people up." - Catherine Booth.
Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. - Act 3:19-21. ESV
We need to understand that all of us, at sometime, become stale in our walk with Christ, and we need to be refreshed! There are many reasons that this happens, but I don’t want to focus on why it happened, but on how we can be refreshed again, that we may become stronger and more active for His glory and for the extension of his Kingdom!
A person can be a Christian for many years yet remain spiritually immature. Therefore it's possible for a new believer to be far more grown up in the Lord than someone who has been saved for 40 years. Some of the older Christians don’t realise that they are in a backslidden state, and it’s only the mask of religion that keeps them in the Church.
A good example of this is found in an incident described by Ethel Barrett in her book; It Only Hurts When I Laugh. She said that when D.L. Moody became a Christian, he developed such a hunger for God's Word, spent so much time reading it, and was so quick to obey it that he became a "menace" to some believers.
His rapid spiritual growth was an embarrassment to certain people who, though they had been saved for years, never grew up in Christ. Week after week in the church Moody attended, he would share a new experience he had with the Lord. Finally, some of the older saints who just couldn't stand feeling humiliated by his exemplary life, went to Moody's uncle and urged him to quiet down his nephew.
Ethel Barrett drew this conclusion about Moody: "His robust spiritual health and bounding energy disturbed their napping; he was just too much. So, while they were sucking their thumbs, he was growing until he left them far behind; he grew more in a few years than they did in thirty."
To these people I say, God wants you for His own! He is a jealous God, and wants you to come back to Him! So repent and receive His...
Promise Of A Personal Refreshing
This is a promise to every believer who is immature, those who have run dry, those who are discouraged and downhearted, who are run down, who feels that there is a great distance between themselves and God! Let us remind ourselves that God has never broken a promise!
Booker T. Washington describes meeting an ex-slave from Virginia in his book Up From Slavery : "I found that this man had made a contract with his master, two or three years previous to the Emancipation Proclamation, to the effect that the slave was to be permitted to buy himself, by paying so much per year for his body; and while he was paying for himself, he was to be permitted to labor where and for whom he pleased.
"Finding that he could secure better wages in Ohio, he went there. When freedom came, he was still in debt to his master some three hundred dollars. Notwithstanding that the Emancipation Proclamation freed him from any obligation to his master, this black man walked the greater portion of the distance back to where his old master lived in Virginia, and placed the last dollar, with interest, in his hands.
In talking to me about this, the man told me that he knew that he did not have to pay his debt, but that he had given his word to his master, and his word he had never broken. He felt that he could not enjoy his freedom till he had fulfilled his promise." - Douglas E. Moore.
Once we understand the promise, then there is...
A Pathway To A Personal Refreshing
We need to return to a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, and turn away from our complacency, our compromise and our contrariness! in order to avoid any of this, we need to refresh ourselves in His word...
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.- John 1:1-5.
It is important to realise that we can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, God almighty! How is it possible to have and retain this relationship? We have a helper, the Holy Spirit...
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: - John 16:7-8.
It is the life lived in Christ that refreshes us, and the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth, and will keep us on the correct pathway... When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. - John 16:13-14.
"I had an overwhelming experience of the Lord's presence. I felt so powerfully overcome by the nearness of the Holy Spirit that I had to ask the Lord to draw back lest He kill me. It was so glorious that I couldn't stand more than a small portion of it." - Mordecai Ham.
When we repent and renew our commitment, to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, then the process of refreshing begins. We are refreshed by His Spiritual presence, refreshed in His strengthening power, refreshed in His sweet love, and a refreshing of soul-winning passion, is released in us! Hallelujah! What a mighty God we serve!
Loving Father, I repent of anything that is in me, which is not of you, wash me in the precious blood of Jesus. I receive your forgiveness. I commit my life afresh to you, and ask you by the Holy Spirit, to help me begin the process of my refreshing, I ask this in the wonderful name of Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, Amen!