Saturday, March 10, 2018

Lenten Season, 2018: 4th Sunday (March 11th /18): Refresh/Refreshing

New Beginnings: See?  I Am Doing a New Thing!—God

Various dictionaries include the following definitions of the word, “refresh”. For example, to refresh encompasses the concepts of giving new strength, providing new energy and vitality via rest, food, etc., to reinvigorate, to fortify, to freshen in appearance and to stimulate one’s memory. Of course, a familiar usage in our age of technology refers to computer-centered language, such as accessing the most updated edition of a web page. Thus, although we may not use the words ‘refresh’ or ‘refreshing’ frequently in our daily communication, the concept is one that we clearly understand and engage in. For instance, if our produce begins to wilt, we can cut the items up (e.g., carrots or celery), put them in ice water, and place them in the fridge to refresh them via rehydrating them. As we consider scenarios in which have observed the process of refreshing in our lives, it becomes clear that this experience is part of our everyday lives—from the barista at our favourite coffee shop offering to refresh our coffee to feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep.

But what role does being refreshed play in our daily lives? Is this refreshing limited to our spirituality? What does the Bible say on this subject? Throughout the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments there are numerous accounts of God providing both spiritual and practical, physical help to His people. For example, in Exodus 31: 1-11, God advised Moses that he would have Spirit-filled, skilled artisans to help him with all the items that needed to be crafted for the tabernacle. In 1Kings 17, following evil Ahab becoming king of Israel (1 Kings 16: 29ff), Elijah delivered God’s dire message to the king—there would be a drought in the land for the next few years. God also had a plan for Elijah’s safety and survival, as well as his physical provisions of bread and meet, delivered by ravens. As the drought continued, God sent Elijah to a widow at Zarepath whose limited amount of oil and flour was multiplied so that she, her son, and Elijah had plenty to eat (1 Kings 17:7-16). We also read about God’s care of Elijah in 1 Kings 19: 1-9 when he was fleeing from Jezebel. Tired from his long-distance marathon, he fell asleep under a tree, but he was soon wakened by an angel and told to eat and drink. This happened a second time. Refreshed by sleep and nourishment and strengthened for the journey ahead, Elijah travelled 40 days and 40 nights until he reached the Mountain of God (i.e., Horeb). If God cared for His servants in the Bible, and He’s the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8), then we can depend on Him to refresh our lives, too—in any and every area that needs to be renewed.

We are complex people, like multi-faceted diamonds-in-the-rough, and our lives are filled with commitments, responsibilities, and unexpected circumstances. As a result, studies have shown that we are not getting enough sleep, eating too much junk- and fast food, and find ourselves lacking energy and motivation. By the time we have arrived at this point, we may need to slow down, re-evaluate our lives, and ask for help. What areas do we need to address, to bring balance to—mind, body, heart, or soul, possibly all of them? In Matthew 6: 25-34 we are reminded not to worry about our life, what food we will have or what clothes we may wear; because God knows all our needs, and He has promised to take care of us. So, we can ask God to refresh us in every area of need in our lives, because He is gracious and longs to meet our needs, “My God shall supply all your need…,” (Phil. 4:19).

Suggested Daily Scripture Readings

Sunday Exodus 31: 12-18

Monday Psalm 23

Tuesday Philemon vv. 1-7

Wednesday Acts 3:19-21

Thursday Romans 15: 14-32

Friday Isaiah 40: 25-3

Saturday Psalm 19: 7-9

Blessings & Peace

Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk

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