Think Hawaii. Think surf, sand, sea. Think blue skies. Peace and quiet. Think coffee. Good hot coffee. A quiet moment. On the deck. Warm sun, slight breeze. Think movies. Think books. Stories, plots you can get lost in. Think friends. Joking, laughing, sharing. History. Stories. More laughing.
How do you get your energy back? How do you get refreshed? It can vary from a week’s vacation in an exotic place to just going to bed early! We’re all different and we re-energize in different ways, but when we are weary, really weary, and we need refreshing, there really is only one source: HE RESTORES MY SOUL.
As tempting as it may be to curl up on the sofa, put on a movie, unplug the phone and lock the door, there are times when that just won’t cut it. It had its place, it worked last week, but this week…I need…refreshing. Super-charged, get-up-and-go, take on the world, yes I am actually alive and kicking, refreshing!
As already pointed out, in Psalm 23, it states, “He” restores my soul. I have had to come to the realization that only God is the restorer of souls. No-one else. Nothing else. Those other things may help for a while, but at the end of the day, it’s only God who can breathe His supernatural breath into my soul and cause it to prosper, be in peace, and sing.
Isaiah 40:29-31, “He gives STRENGTH to the weary and INCREASES THE POWER of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
According to this scripture we will:
1) Have strength.
2) Increased power.
6) Not get weary or faint.
Over the years God has given me practical tips on how to stay in His strength and allow my soul to be restored. By keeping Him as our hope and our dwelling place, it means we are focused on Him and allow nothing else to replace that hope. He is our vision. There have been times when I have had to examine the amount of space in my head that is occupied by books I read, TV I watch, and words I listen to. I have had to pay attention to the people I hang out with. I try to stick with the ones who have faith, the ones that make me feel encouraged when I walk away, having felt pleased to be in their company. I avoid critical talkers. Anyone can do that, and because we live in an imperfect world full of imperfect people, there will always be opportunity to discuss such things. Stay away.
I pay attention to meetings. When I go to church, I go with an expectancy that God will speak to me. For me. About me. Meet me. That I will feel His presence. This is not the time to stay away being “refreshed” at home. It doesn’t work for me. I have to be with His people, where there is a power in combined faith and corporate worship that causes praise to go through the roof, where I can push life aside and say, “There you are!” to the face of God. It’s where others come with a word of encouragement, a prophetic word, an exhortation, a scripture, a song. It’s where someone stands up and preaches the word of God that I believe has the power to radically change my life. Where we pray together, break bread together, stand up for and alongside each other. It’s where He is! He is always there dwelling with His people.
A tactic of the enemy is to make you believe that God has nothing more to give you, that there is no deeper, higher, more intimate place you can go. That there are not things undiscovered or unearthed. That this is it.
Over the past three years in particular, God has shown me that when He is in the process of meeting me and refreshing me, that it’s not a simple case of, “Oh well, cheer up then!” It’s more of a guided tour of what He wants to say to me and show me. He’s the tour guide. Not me. It means surrender. When I surrender totally and try not to be a control freak, He turns up in an intimate way and it is awesome!
One way that God has taken me by the hand and led me to new levels of previously inexperienced places is in our Deeper meetings. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when we embarked on the monthly Sunday night gatherings. The first thing I thought was, “Oh good. Worship!” and then I got practical. What shall we sing? Who can play? What are we going to do for two hours? Gradually, as the months went by, the power of His presence in those meetings began to affect my life. I found the closer I drew to Him the hungrier I became. The more He turned up, the hungrier I was.
I became totally convinced there was far more. That somehow, a happy contentment had stolen from me the desire to pursue God and know Him on a deeper level than I ever had before. God began to move out of a 2 hour slot on a Sunday night and into my week. He would wake me in the night and speak to me. I began to have frequent dreams where answers would come at me. I would be driving through town and begin to cry because His presence in my car was so thick. I found His love would wrap me in a blanket of warmth that kept out the cold of lack. I found Him. All over again. And in this process of devotion HE RESTORED MY SOUL.
I was not even looking for it. He just did it. And I realized a restored soul is part of His benefits when I drew near. Having strength, having power, soaring, running, walking, it’s all part of being in Him. It is not separate. You don’t wait until you are down and out to go find Him and ask for restoration. You don’t wait until you are exhausted to get filled again. You just live in Him. All the time. Every day.
Think Hawaii? Oh yes! Think coffee? For sure! Think movies? Certainly! Think friends? Absolutely!
Think God? ALWAYS!