Do you feel worn out and overwhelmed? Are you in desperate need of times of refreshing in the presence of the Lord, so that you can feel well-watered again?
Beloved, I'm going to be very transparent with you today and share a lot of my personal mistakes.
I feel led to do so, because I want you to know from my experience: if you feel dry and stale, you can have times of refreshing that will heal you, restore you, and reinvigorate you.
Sweet, cool, cheer-inducing refreshing.
But those times of refreshing don't happen automatically.
There is a really big pre-requisite that you have to address first, in order for the refreshing waters of the Holy Spirit to flood over your soul.
Acts 3:19 contains the pre-requisite, and the secret to the times of refreshing that we all so desperately need. This verse says:
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
Beloved, the reason I'm writing to you about this today is that we don't usually realize that God's refreshing is conditional.
By the way, this is post #5 in a 5-part series about how to get out of the dark valleys of life. Be sure to check out the other posts here:
Acts 3:19 says that, in order for times of refreshing to come from the presence of the Lord, we have to 1) repent and 2) be converted, so that our sins may be blotted out.
I know we usually think of repentance and conversion as being part of the salvation experience, and they are. But that's not all they mean.
So what's the practical meaning here? Just this:
“Repent” means to change the way you think! “Repentance” means you stop doing one thing and turn around, going the other direction and thinking different thoughts!
To “be converted” to anything means you leave one thing and change to another thing; to become a new thing completely! And in this context, I believe the Lord is showing us that, in order to experience His times of refreshing, we have to repent of our sins, change the way we think, and come into alignment with Him:
- With His Word;
- With His faith;
- With His promises; and
- to be converted into believing believers!
It's all about the way we think. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Your thought life dictates WHO you are.
And if you need to be refreshed in the presence of the Lord today, you have to change the way you think.
I don't know about you, but whenever I feel depressed, discouraged, hopeless, or anxious, it's because I'm thinking wrong. Every time.
It usually starts with self-pity. Something I don't like happens, like:
- Somebody maybe says something to me that I don't like; or
- I might have a tough day at work; or
- Something doesn't go just exactly the way I want it to, as fast as I want it to; or
- I start looking at what I don't have, instead of what I do have.
I can't even tell you how many times I've been guilty of this.
Self-pity has been a huge sin in my life. 🙁 I'm doing better at not feeling sorry for myself than I used to, but I still catch myself feeling sorry for myself, well, pretty often. But–like I said–not as often as I used to.
Awhile back, my husband and I were dealing with a financial nightmare for years on end, and I got so deep into self-pity that it opened a door for huge enemy attack. Suicidal spirits came at me day and night, and I was trying to fight them off over and over.
Eventually, I got so tired I couldn't fight anymore.
At that time, I finally confided in my intercessor friends, who prayed the enemy off me and the glory down. But I was a mess during that time, all from feeling sorry for myself because Lord, Your moneyyyyyy (insert whining here) was going down the drain every month.
And so many times, I got into self-pity at my corporate job.
I used to work as a financial analyst at a Fortune 500 company. I was there over 14 years, and I was blessed.
But I can't tell you how many times I got upset over one little incident at work, and actually sat at my desk and cried, even though I should be grateful that I'm not in a soup line somewhere.
But was I grateful? Nooooo. I cried and cried and felt sorry for myself.
Or if someone doesn't treat me the way I want them to. Maybe somebody says something to me that hurts. Yeah, I forgive them, but too many times after forgiving them, I've gone down the self-pity road. How could they do that to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (more whining here) when I've never treated them like that?
And on, and on, and on.
I'm just being honest: self-pity has been a big struggle for me.
I used to feel sorry for myself every day, all day long. Now, thank God, I'm getting better about saying “no” to the devil's pity parties. Now, I only feel sorry for myself maybe a few times a month.
Which is a few times too many, I know. Don't judge. I'm working on it.
(By the way, self-pity is idolatry. I learned this from Joyce Meyer. It's staring at oneself and putting one's own feelings and desires above God's command to be thankful and praise in all things. Which equals worship of self, not worship of (obedience to) God. That's a different topic for a different day, but anyway … youch.)
But here's the thing about times of refreshing:
While we're deep in the throes of woe and despair, the Lord can't bless that attitude. He can't reward our sin, doubt, and unbelief (which are also sins) by giving us what we want, or by doing for us what we whine at Him about.
He's just too good for that. And God doesn't respond to whining; He responds to faith. And He responds to His Word.
That's why, in order for us to receive times of refreshing in the presence of the Lord, we have to repent (change the way we think) and be converted–to HIS way of thinking!
What does “changing the way you think” and “being converted” look like?
It looks like:
- Saying, “Lord, some awful things have happened to me this year; but my trust is in You. I'm believing You to work all these things out for my good. Thank You, Lord.”
- Saying, “Lord, those people are not in charge of my promotion. You are. So I'm going to seek You and not worry about being passed over, and You're going to take care of me and promote me when it's time in Your own opinion.”
- Saying, “Lord, I've been through some tough times this year, but I'm going to be thankful and praise You because You said I should, and You are worthy to be obeyed, no matter what.”
THAT, beloved reader, is changing the way you think.
Changing the way I think has been a key to healing for me time and time again.
Whenever I've gotten fed up with the sins of doubt, unbelief, and self-pity in my life, and repented for them, God's healing rain has washed over me in buckets.
Every time, He has given me my joy back. He's filled me with faith again. He has restored my hope for better times. He has refreshed and cheered my weary soul, so that I felt well-watered again. He's healed my emotions so deeply and thoroughly that I've felt like a totally new person.
Every time that I have decided to focus on Him, instead of on me. Me me me me me.
I'm tired of me. I want to be all about Him; don't you?
Changing the way you think is all about going from a self-centered reality to a God-centered reality, no matter how things look or feel.
It's about no longer letting your emotions and circumstances dictate whether you obey God or not.
It's about deciding that you are going to obey God, be happy, and trust Him, no matter what … for He alone is God, who governs the universe.
And He's plenty strong enough to take care of you, watch out for you, watch over you, and provide for all. your. needs.
And when we change the way we think and convert over to agree with God's perspective on things, times of refreshing come and fast.
Times of refreshing are a demonstration of God manifesting Himself as Jehovah Rophe—the Lord our Healer. When He refreshes us, He heals us from discouragement and despair. He turns the bitter into sweetness.
As it says in Exodus 15:25-26, where God reveals Himself as Jehovah Rophe:
“So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.
There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, and said, ‘If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.'”
Interestingly enough, we are healed on the inside and outside by the stripes of Jesus, by the blood that Jesus shed on the cross of Calvary. The cross being A TREE, which God puts INTO THE BITTER WATERS of life, and they become sweet.
Huh. Funny how that works. God shows us His Christ in everything, if we look. 🙂
God is our Healer and our Refresher. But He heals and refreshes in response to faith.
In his book The Names of God (affiliate link), Dr. Ken Hemphill, former president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, writes about God as Jehovah Rophe. He states:
“The word rophe occurs about sixty times in the Old Testament and it always means “to restore,” “to heal,” or “to cure.” It is frequently used in relation to physical healing. It can also be used to relate to moral and spiritual healing.
Jehovah reveals Himself to be the only source of wholeness. He alone has the power to change the bitter experiences of life into sweet.”
Beloved, if you need times of refreshing today, I implore you:
Repent for any sins in your life, including the sins of self-pity, doubt, and unbelief. Change the way you think. Be converted over into God's way of thinking.
If you will, you will encounter Jehovah Rophe, your Healer, and times of refreshing will come to you in His Presence.
Precious reader, does this word speak to your heart today? If so, please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you.