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Stop in for some Refreshment

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After giving a lecture to the people who were standing around gawking at a man who had just been healed about how the power to perform this came from the Jesus they rejected and hung on the cross, Peter says this:

 

Repent therefore, and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.  Acts 3:19

 

We’ve talked a lot about repentance here, but today I want to talk about the last part of that verse.   Have you ever felt the need for refreshing?  I know I have many times.  “Life do get tedious sometimes” as my mother used to say, and we get tired in our walk.  At such times, we long for a time of peace and refreshment.

 

Here he is specifically discussing those who are sin-sick and in need of refreshment.  The principle works for all, however, because Jesus is the source of refreshment, peace, rest, and everything else we need.

 

For the lost:

 

Those who have rejected Jesus walk around in the darkness.  They seek to meet their needs in sin, but sin leads to death.  It’s like having a cancer that slowly eats you away from the inside.  I heard recently of a woman who found out she had cancer two weeks before she died.  She had walked around with this cancer around her and had no idea it was killing her.

 

Jesus is the healer:

 

Jesus heals the sin-sick soul.  He brings His righteousness and His refreshment and His healing to the person who turns to Him, the great Physician.

 

For followers:

 

While we have the refreshment and healing that comes from choosing to repent and follow Jesus, we still have a rough row to hoe at times and need refreshment.  Imagine a farmer out tending to his crops.  Those of you who do farm will understand the work it takes to bring in that crop.  It’s long, hard, exhausting work.  When you come in from the field, you need refreshment.  You don’t just think, hmm, I’d like some refreshment; you go after it.  You probably need a drink the most, but you also need sustenance and rest to rebuild you for the work to come the next day.

 

Jesus is the refresher:

 

Esau, after a hard day of hunting, came in to smell the stew his brother, Jacob, had prepared.  He needed refreshment so much; he was willing to give up his birthright for it.  He is an example of a person trying to get refreshment through sin.  It may have felt good for a while, but it was very temporary – unlike his decision to give up his birthright.

 

Jesus is the Living Water: 

Falling Water Falls

Falling Water Falls (Photo credit: dbarronoss)

 

When Jesus refreshes, it’s not a temporary thing.  As long as we’re walking with Him, we will be refreshed.  It’s like having a living water IV.

 

14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.   John 4:14

 

Bread

Bread (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus is the Bread of Life:

 

Along with providing Living Water, Jesus also provides the Bread of Life.  This bread fills us and gives us the strength to keep going.  It refreshes and provides life – abundant life!

 

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.  John 6:35

 

Jesus is the Light of Life:

 

Have you ever walked into a dark house and stumbled over something?  It refreshes to turn on the light so you can see what’s in front of you.  Jesus provides the eternal Light that shows us the way.

 

I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

 

Refresh

Jesus: He’s the real thing! Refresh (Photo credit: katerha)

Jesus is Everything we Need:

 

Do you need refreshment?  Take a moment to cuddle up close to Jesus and receive the refreshment He offers.  It’s better than anything sin has to offer for sure.  Taste and see that the Lord, He is good!

 

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.  Psalm 34:8

 

Descriptions of Christ  http://www.parentcompany.com/awareness_of_god/doctoc.htm

 

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Step into my parlor said the spider to the fly!

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This morning I witnessed a disgusting horific amazing sight.  I often have to make trips to the little girls room in the middle of the night.  My procedure, in order to keep from waking the hubs and make sure I don’t run into any unwanted centipedes surprises, is to put on shoes, go into the bathroom, shut the door and flip the light and tap on the floor a couple of times with my cane so the buggers know I’m coming and scat (hopefully).  This time, the lights flipped on and I saw a bug coming.  It wasn’t a centipede, so Brian wasn’t woke up with a scream; it was a little thing about a 1/2″ long.  I tapped my cane so it would go back into the bowels of where ever and leave me alone.

English: spider web with fog droplets, San Fra...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It turned tail to run and started doing this little spinny thing as another even tinier bug came running toward it.  The tiny bug was maybe an 1/8th of an inch, so I couldn’t tell what it was and thought it was a baby of the other.  I was wrong!  Before I knew what was happening the tiny spider came up and bit the other insect that had tripped on his web.  I then had to got to watch him work.  The other bug struggled briefly, but soon succumbed to the poison.  The spider then wrapped the bug up and anchored it better.  It was a bitter sweet moment.  My attempt to save the bigger bugs life by keeping it from coming close enough to the bottom of my shoe went horribly wrong.  While fascinated by the action unfolding before me, I had to feel sad for the bug who became dinner (or more likely breakfast) for the spider.  I didn’t even know that spider or its web were in that corner.  They were not visible (whether to my old eyes or just well camouflaged.)

The whole ordeal reminded me of two things: the movie “The Fly” and how we get entangled in sin.

I have an article I keep in my Bible called, “Sin Wants to be Your Friend” by Tim Challies.  He says it so well:

“Sin makes so many promises.  Sin promises joy.  It promises fulfilment. Sin promises to be your

Spider web

(Photo credit: @Doug88888)

friend.  When you first meet a new friend you reveal only little bits of who you are, what you believe, what is important to you.  But over time, if the friendship is to grow, you need to reveal more and more of yourself, you need to open yourself up.  Friendship grows out of the vulnerability of allowing another person to see who you really are beneath the polite exterior.  Sin asks you to give just a little bit more of yourself to it every time.  Just a bit more.  Just a bit more after that.  But over time sin comes to own you.  It comes to know everything there is to know about you.  And then it stabs you in the back and laughs with glee as you are left sputtering and humiliated and destroyed.  It laughs as your marriage is destroyed, as your church is shamed, as your friends are betrayed.  That’s the kind of friend it is.”

Just as the spider laid its invisible trap, sin lays a trap for it.  We seldom see it coming because it draws us in gradually, but once we are entangled in its web, it’s too late.  Sin swoops in and takes another victim.  Sadly, with sin, the sinner is never the only victim.  Sin hurts. It hurts the sinner.  It hurts those who love the sinner.  It hurts society as well on some level.  Sin promises all those things we think we want, but delivers death.  Only God is our true friend, a Promise Keeper, a Need Meeter, a Disciplinarian, and so much more.  Any and all needs we have can be met in God, but we have to choose Him over the false trappings of sin

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.    —James 1:13-15

As James tells us, sin happens when we are lured and enticed by our own desire.  We look (and do not look away).  We want.  We place our foot on that web, thinking we can always get away or that it won’t hurt us.  We are wrong.  Sin, when followed to it’s conclusion “brings for death”.   Sin may appear fun for a while, but that is an illusion.   That’s why we should “guard our hearts with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  Proverbs 4:23

Step into my parlor . . .

English: Centiped

Loving perfectly

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People come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.”  — anonymous

You know, sometimes people can be difficult?  What?  That’s not a shock to you?  Well, how about this:  sometimes YOU can be difficult.  I bet that one was more of a surprise, but not really.  We all have human failings that cause difficulties in our communications with others and with God.  Sometimes, the struggle to deal with difficult people (or people who are difficult in a specific situation) can bring up a few difficulties in one’s self.  It often brings out the ick in us as we struggle with the issue.

Ick # 1:  Depression.

Depression, or the pity party, hits some of us when we face difficulties, and especially difficult people.  Some of you do not struggle with this, but some of you, like me, do.  I don’t like confrontation.  I use it when necessary, but I don’t like it.  This struggle often brings me to a mood dip.  My mood dip can be a shallow dip or a great big gorge, depending on the situation.  I have learned over the years that the depth of the dip depends on me and my attitude.  If I deal with it, the moment passes quickly.  If I dwell on it, I can find myself in over my head.

Ick # 2:  Anger

The Bible says to ‘be angry and sin not’ (Ephesians 4:26), implying that anger is not the main issue.  Anger is a feeling.  Feeding anger leads to sin.  Anger has to be dealt with quickly.  The definition of quickly depends on the person and the situation, but un-dealt-with anger is a raging fire that burns the angry person and anyone in his or her path.  In the case of sinful anger, the root is often pride.  How dare that person say that to me/do that to me/treat me that way!  I don’t deserve this!  We tend to magnify the other person’s offense and minimize our own actions (like how we often do the same to others).  The only solution is to recognize the truth about the situation and then forgive.

Ick # 3:  Pay Back

Have you ever wanted to do to someone what they did to you?  You think they should feel the pain you feel, often with the thought that they would then apologize profusely and not do it again.   This is revenge, and revenge is not sweet!  This tendency to want to hurt when we are hurt.  This tendency just perpetuates the cycle and does not open up the doors of communication; it slams them shut!

I’m sure there’s more ick, but we’ll settle on these three for now.  I have been dealing with all of these issues – internally – and figuring out how to deal with it in a healthy way.  My human nature’s instincts are not of God, and they cannot bring reconciliation and open communication to the situation(s).  It’s funny how we can walk around with this festering sore inside us, while the other people have no clue there’s even a problem.

Are you self-aware?  Have you ever had the ‘ick’ies? Have ow do you deal with difficult people?  How do you respond when you realize you are being difficult to others?

 

God loves  us perfectly, imperfections and all!  How far along are you on the journey to do likewise?   I have a ways to go, but understanding God’s view helps.

 

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I just had to share this. It’s pretty awesome. I hope you’ll give it a gander

Our choices make us

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Our very lives are fashioned by choice.  First we make choices.  Then our choices make us.” — Anne FrankSignature of Anne Frank

 

When I saw this quote, I had to sigh because it is so true.  As a human being, I usually look for other reasons why my life/body/relationships/other isn’t as it should be.  But, at some point along the way, I made a choice.  That choice often led to other choices, leading me down a path I never intended to go.

 

 

We can think of those choices as building blocks.  What have you built your life on?  What kind of choices make up your foundation?  Every time we make poor choices, we are adding an unstable block.  Too many of those, and you can see the possibility for disaster.

 

Let’s use health as an example.  Every time I choose to eat something not good for me (on a consistent basis), every time I choose to sit instead of move, every time I go on a bad diet and mess up my metabolism, every time I make bad choices, my bad choices will make up who I am.  I am not saying that everyone is responsible for all their health issues.  Let me repeat that:  I am NOT saying that everyone is responsible for all their health issues.  Sometimes things happen that are outside of our control. Cancer happens; accidents happen; we get old; life takes us places we don’t want to go.  But, those things aside, our choices do effect our health.

 

We can apply this principle (sowing and reaping) to other things in our life as well.  Do we choose to be in relationships with people who are not good for us?  Do we choose to get drunk or high and not only harm our bodies but set ourselves up for even worse decisions under the influence?  Do we choose selfish desires over generosity?  This list of questions could go on for a mile or more, but the point is that our choices do make a difference – now and in the future.

 

So, now what?  I’m on this other path, and I want off!  Am I stuck?  While I may not be able to undo everything I have done by my choices, I can begin by making better choices from here on.

 

Bible

Bible (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

The first choice I recommend for all is to choose Jesus as Savior and Lord.  With that choice as a foundation, you have a lot of resources at your command.  As you seek to deepen your relationship with your Creator, you will begin to be like Him and make better choices.The second  choice I recommend is spending time in God’s Word.  Proverbs is a great place to find instruction in wise choices.  The entire Bible is a manual in both good and bad choices.

English: Jonah, as in Jonah 2:10, "And th...

English: Jonah, as in Jonah 2:10, “And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”;watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

–Jonah decided to run from the Lord’s calling.  That didn’t work out so well for him.

 

–Noah decided to obey the Lord, despite the taunts of everyone else in the world.  He lived; they died.

 

–Lot choose to pitch his tent toward Sodom and Gomorrah.  While that may have seemed a rather neutral choice, it was anything but.  His eyes were fixed on his own comfort instead of God.  This choice led to major destruction for his family and tainted the rest of his life.

 

Even when our choices seem to have no right or wrong, they send us in different directions.  It is wise to spend time in prayer before making those decisions so we don’t go in the wrong direction and live to regret it.

 

What choices have you made lately?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Longing to be Loved

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“Countless women curl up on their couches to watch the same chick flicks over and over, especially the ones in which the hero gives everything to save the girl. Like the one rescued in movies, we want to be desired, fought for — pursued. And we are.  Our Creator and King is pursuing us, but it’s so much better than the movies. He gave up His life and paid a great price to come and rescue us.” – Lynn Cowell in “Longing to be Pursued

 

How about you?  Even men often have that need to have someone want them, really want them and pursue them wholeheartedly.  We all want to be needed, to make a difference in someone’s life, to feel like we matter.  This need is often at the base of so many things we do, including “looking for love in all the wrong places.”  We spend much energy seeking that indefinable thing that lets us know we are special.

 

As the rest of this article points out, we already have someone who pursues us, loves us, thinks we’re special above all others.  This one is Jesus.  He gave His life for us and pursues us to the end, loving us through it all.

 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (John 3:16)

 

That, my friends, is a lot of love!  Have you ever doubted God’s love for you?  {If you’re human, you must say yes.}  Do you really comprehend; can you wrap your mind around, the kind of love this is?  What kind of God cares so much about a bunch of spoiled brats who seldom appreciate what He has done, is doing, will do for us?  What kind of God allows His beloved Son to go through what He did, just so that we could have a way to Him?

 

Image from Morguefile.comJesus is that white night, that hero that gave His life to protect and restore us.  When you think of yourself as the bride of Christ, try to be the kind of bride that recognizes the value of the Groom and what He did to redeem you.

Encouragement

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Sweat beads and falls, soaking everything

Lakeland 15 mile road race - held at Tyrrellsp...

Lakeland 15 mile road race – held at Tyrrellspass, Co. Westmeath on Sunday 14th August 2011 (Photo credit: Peter Mooney)

Breath comes painfully in short gasps

She knows he’s moving quickly

Yet it feels as if he is in slow motion

The end in sight and yet so far away

He’s been running so long now

His mind lost in the agony of each new step

Thoughts of giving up slip through his mind

As exhaustion clouds his entire being

What’s that he hears at the edge of his consciousness

A chanting sound, calling his name

Encouraging him to keep going

Reminding him he’s not alone

Energizing him as he crosses the finish line

His race well run, he enters his rest

Angela Masters Young c 2012

 

This “poem” (for lack of a better name) points out the need for encouragement from others.  Let’s face it, life is hard sometimes and there comes a time (or times) when we just don’t know if we can keep going.  We have used up all our resources, even though we cling to the Father and know He will provide.  Sometimes, the difference between going all the way successfully and dropping out of the race rests in a little encouragement from our fellow runners and those watching on the sidelines.  Communicating to others that they are appreciated and not alone may make the difference.  Have you encouraged someone today?

Hebrews 10:25
not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

Find more encouragement verses here

 

 

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