"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."
Acts 3: 19
King James Version
EXPLORATION "Living A Transformed Life in 2011"
"God is more anxious to bestow His blessings on us than we are to receive them."
Have I been refreshed by God's blessings during this past year?
"Refresh" - To revive and reinvigorate.
"Blessings we enjoy daily, and for the most of them, because they be so common, men (and women) forget to pay their praises. But let not us, because it is a sacrifice so pleasing to Him who still protects us, and gives us flowers, and showers, and meat and content."
This past summer, here in Arizona, we sustained a great deal of heat - unusually high temperatures for a record number of days in a row - and at the same time, our rain amount plummeted.
I remember one particular day after a long stretch of heat with no relief, some large fluffy thunderclouds rolled over our small town - and all of a sudden it began to pour. Torrents of rain. I confess, I walked out on our porch and let the drops hit my face as I took in a deep breath of air. The smell of rain on the pine trees and clay soil was invigorating. After a few minutes of letting the refreshing shower wash over my face, I felt renewed and revived.
In Ezekiel 34: 26, God gives us. His children, a promise. "I will cause the showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing" (Ezekiel 34: 26, Amplified Bible). Just like the rain refreshes the parched earth, God's blessings bring the rain of His presence into the cracked, hardened parts of our hearts and lives.
In 2011, I want to have a rejuvenated life. Infused with New Life! For once I have Jesus' life encompassing and filling me, I'll find myself refreshed, invigorated and re-energized! That's what heavens' showers do for us.
But there are more blessings that come into our lives when we are refreshed by God.
First, God gives us His Word. David the Psalmist writes in Psalm 119: 50 (Amplified Bible), "This is my comfort and consolation in my affliction; that Your Word has revived me and given me life." Years later, in a letter to the Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul sent this message to his friends: "For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by our steadfast and patient endurance and the encouragement drawn from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope" (Romans 15: 4, Amplified Bible).
Both David and Paul recognized and personally experienced the refreshment you and I may receive when we study God's Word. The Scriptures give refreshment to our barren, dry lives.
However, there are more showers of blessing. The apostle Paul, as he ends the first letter he wrote to the church members in Corinth states, "I am happy because Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus have come to me,…For they gave me respite from labor and rested me and refreshed my spirit as well as yours" (I Corinthians 16: 17, 18, Amplified Bible).
The gift of friends who cared for Paul were also showers of refreshment given by God to revive him.
In his book Then Sings My Soul, Robert J. Morgan relates a story about a POW in Vietnam named Howard Rutledge. Here is how he tells the story:
"When Howard Rutledge's plane was shot down over Vietnam, he parachuted into a little village and was immediately attacked and imprisoned. For the next seven years he endured brutal treatment. His food was little more than a bowl of pig fat. He was frequently cold, alone, and often tortured. How did he keep his sanity?
In his book, In the Presence of Mine Enemies, Rutledge wrote, ‘I wanted to talk about God and Christ and the church. But in Heartbreak (his concentration camp), there was no pastor, no Sunday school teacher, no Bible, no hymnbook, I had completely neglected the spiritual dimension of my life. It took prison to show me how empty life is without God and so I had to go back in my memory to those Sunday school days in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If I couldn't have a Bible and hymnbook, I would try to rebuild them in my mind.
'I tried desperately to recall, gospel choruses from childhood, and hymns we sang in church. The first three dozen songs were relatively easy. Every day I'd try to recall another verse or a new song. One night there was a huge thunderstorm - it was the season of the monsoon rains - and a bolt of lightning knocked out the lights and plunged the entire prison into darkness. I had been going over hymn tunes in my mind and stopped to lie down and sleep when the rains began to fall. The darkened prison echoed with wave after wave of water. Suddenly, I was humming my thirty-seventh song, one I had entirely forgotten since childhood.'"
"Showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need!
Mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead."
Our Heavenly Father gave His son to redeem us. And through Jesus' life we are rejuvenated - given New Life. Today, I invite you to let Heaven's showers of blessings fall into your life and refresh and revive you in 2011.
"There shall be showers of blessing;
send them upon us, O Lord, Grant to
us now a refreshing, Come, and now
honor Thy word."
Daniel W. Whittle
help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly
that my life may only be a radiance of You.
Stay with me, and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others;
the light, O Jesus, will be all from You,
none of it will be mine:
It will be You, shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise You in the way You love best,
by shining on those around me."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $10.00.
If you would like to purchase When A Woman Meets Jesus at discount for your Women's Ministry Program or for Bible Study Groups, please call: 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.