TIMES OF REFRESHING Andy Hollifield 2-25-19
Refresh—(1) to provide energy and renewed vigor by food, rest, drink, etc… (2) to make fresh again, to cheer or reinvigorate the mind, spirits, person, attitude, disposition, etc. (3) to stimulate
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
I know that what Peter was talking about in verse 19 is the time when the Lord will descend with a shout to rapture those that are born again and looking for him. That truly will be the ultimate time of refreshing. That will be when we receive a glorified body like unto that of Christ that Paul spoke of in Philippians 3:21. But in the mean time, we are forced to live in this body of flesh. Being flesh, our body sometimes needs refreshing as does our minds, spirits, attitude, and disposition. Lets look at some of the scripture pertaining to refreshing in hopes that it may help us.
As Jesus prayed in the garden prior to his arrest, Jesus instructed his disciples to tarry and watch with him. After he went and prayed and returned, he found them sleeping. He asked Peter, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” Then he instructed them to “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.” Hasn’t that often proven true for all of us at some point in our lives? There have been numerous times that our desire to do something was overcome by the lack of energy of our flesh. Our intentions were good but like the old saying says, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” This saying first appeared in a book of proverbs by Henry G. Bohn in 1855. He didn’t claim it as his but only collected it for use in his book. Just as the disciples in the garden that night, we often start out with good intentions for the Lord’s work but often we fall short of what we intended. Sometimes it is because we make brash statements in the heat of the moment and don’t have the drive when it comes time to do the work. Other times, it comes down to pure laziness.
Then there are times when the work we do and our journey with the Lord may become hard and disappointing at times. That is what I want to talk about. Just like the Israelites in Numbers 21:4, the journey may get rough and like them, “the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.” If you have never been there, it is likely because you have only recently accepted the Lord as your Savior or you haven’t ever determined in your heart to do anything for him. If you have ever submitted yourself to God (James 4:7) you will most assuredly face conflict with the devil. I hadn’t noticed in that verse before, but right after submitting ourselves to God, the next thing it says is “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” That makes it sound like the devil waste no time in trying to get us discouraged and render us useless to the Lord’s work.
I could go on and on about the times and reasons the journey gets hard, but that isn’t what I want to emphasize. It is those times of refreshing that we all need to focus on. Getting discouraged is easy. All you have to do is watch the news for just a few minutes and you can feel the filth of the world washing over you like muddy water and sticking to you. What comes a little harder is looking for those times of refreshing. One of my favorite scriptures of refreshing is found in Psalms 23. The psalmist paints the picture of walking with the Lord by still waters and lying down in green pastures. That is right before going into a spooky valley of shadows and sitting down to a meal prepared by the Lord right in front of our enemy. Isn’t that how we get refreshed a lot of times? Or as he put it; “He restoreth my soul.” Did you notice why the psalmist said he would not fear evil in that scary valley? It was because the Lord was with him leading him. He took comfort in the fact that the good shepherd had the equipment necessary to take care of him. The food, water, oil, pasture, and plenty of good stuff to make his cup run over. Food and water for strength, oil for first aid, pasture for rest, and the shepherd’s rod and staff for rescue and defence. With all of that and the shepherd leading him, why should he not feel comforted? No matter how hard his way might be, the fact that he had all of this restored his soul. It should restore ours considering we have that same shepherd.
Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” That is rest for those that have been walking the hard places and working with everything in them. Rest is not needed for lazy people. Just like the psalmist; aren’t you glad that he calls us into his presence to give us rest. No danger of attack while we are resting in his presence. Jesus knew that we would all need refreshing at times. Mark 3:20 describes a time when Jesus wanted to take his disciples away to get some rest and the multitudes followed them. They had been so busy meeting everyone else’s needs, they hadn’t even had time to eat. If you notice, Jesus healed all that came to him right after he had ordained his disciples. Then in chapter 4, he sat in a ship and taught the people who stood on the shore. Immediately after he had taught them, they were on a ship crossing to the other side. In chapter 5, when he gets to land again after calming a storm at sea, he is immediately met by the demonic of the Gadarenes. If you keep going on, you don’t find the disciples getting rest until they sat down to eat the last supper with the Lord. I know they ate and slept when they could but my point is, they were wide open all the time.
We all get like that at times and just need a little refreshing. Jeremiah even told the Jews that if they would walk in God’s ways, they would find rest for their souls. They chose instead to not obey the Lord and their way became filled with stumbling blocks and captivity throughout their history. Walk in the Lord’s ways and stay where Jesus is and let him lead you; and you will have rest for your souls. He knows we get weary and he has made provision for us providing everything we could ever need as long as we follow where he leads. If the disciples, who walked with him daily by sight , got weary, I can promise you that those of us walking by faith will most definitely get weary at times. Isaiah 40:31 promises that if we will just wait on God, he will strengthen us and cause us to soar and even run and not be weary. The key is waiting on him. “But ye brethren, be not weary in well doing.” Just thank him for and enjoy those times of refreshing. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!