Refresh Day 7: Approval Addiction

“We were not looking for praise from men.”

1 Thessalonians 2:6

Cravings strike us all from time to time. Common wisdom reports that pregnant ladies send their bewildered husbands out for pickles and ice cream at the midnight hour. They have a craving that needs to be satisfied. Some people crave chocolate, others coffee. One lady who moved to another country for a time found herself with great cravings for peaches and cottage cheese; these items were simply not available where she was living.

Nearly every person has another craving—the craving for praise. We love to hear good things said about us. We all appreciate words of encouragement. The Bible is very clear that we are to encourage one another. This is the responsibility of believers to their brothers and sisters in Christ. However, it is not the responsibility of a believer to seek this praise from others. In fact there is a snare that lies hidden in our craving for praise. If we live our lives seeking the praise of people, we will become enslaved to their approval. We will be living with as many bosses over our lives as people from whom we desire praise. It’s a horrible way to live. It’s a life of enslavement.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that there is a day when our craving for praise will be legitimately satisfied. It will come at the judgment seat of Christ, where we will receive our praise from God. Then our craving can be truly fulfilled. In fact, living for praise on that day releases us from the tyranny of seeking the praise of people in this life. Our craving for praise is not wrong, but we seek to satisfy it at the wrong time and place.

Step into the freedom of seeking one master’s praise. Surrender your desire for the praise of people. Live for the audience of one. Make your one master the loving Lord Jesus Christ. Let his praise be your guiding passion, and enjoy the rest he brings to your soul.

Prayer Starter: Lord, grant me the freedom that comes from a heart that seeks your praise alone.

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LyndonAbout the Author: Lyndon Wall served as a pastor in Alberta, Canada for fourteen years. He has also served the Jos, Nigeria mission community by providing pastoral care. Lyndon is the founder of Refresh Ministries, which is dedicated to helping people in ministry enjoy “healthy souls.”  Lyndon earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

refresh-devotionals-front-coverThis excerpt is from Lyndon’s devotional book Refresh. Lyndon wrote Refresh specifically for pastors, missionaries, and ministry workers whose souls have been parched by the stresses and tests of life. Stress is a reality of life. It can harm and drain us of vital energy. It must be responded to wisely. This devotional book was written to help you encounter Jesus Christ, the great refresher of the soul and give insights that will help you live with a renewed and joyful heart.

Refresh Day 6: Leaky Cisterns

The people of Israel stood accused before the Lord. They were guilty of two offenses. First, they had forsaken the Lord. He who promised them refreshed spirits throughout their lives had been forgotten. God was the fountain of living water that continually flowed for his people, but they had abandoned him. Their second sin consisted of making and seeking other sources of satisfaction for their spiritual thirst. They had gone after other gods, the gods of their neighbors. The worthless idol of Baal had become their thirst quencher. Unfortunately Baal’s water did not quench thirst.

It is a simple but profound truth: Jesus is the oasis, the spring of living water. Yet we can spend our lives drinking from and repairing leaky cisterns which hold no water. We seek to satisfy our spiritual thirst with other gods. Many of these cisterns are well intentioned and even respectable in the sight of others. Some are subtle and lie in the depths of our hearts unseen or perceived until the Lord brings them to the light.

A family has had a busy week. On Friday night, they want to relax and decide to watch a video. Clean entertainment is hard to find, so they compromise and feast their minds on scenes and words that will harm their souls. Their relief from the stress lasts as long as the video, but when it ends, their souls still thirst.

A teacher loves to teach; it is a joy for him to expound God’s word to his students. Yet after a time, he seeks soul satisfaction from the thrill of teaching rather than from the Lord Jesus, about whom he is teaching. After a time, he realizes that the cistern of teaching leaks and does not continually renew him.

A mother seeks to nourish her soul from the lives of her children. Her children are her life. She lives for them and would die for them. She is the ultimate mother, the envy of other mothers. Yet as commendable as her devotion to her children is, she still finds that there is something missing. At the core of her being she is thirsty. It’s a thirst for the eternal that only the spring of living water can supply. Her diligently maintained cistern of family continually springs leaks, and the satisfying waters drain away.

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Have you forsaken the Lord for cisterns that hold no water? Have you let noble endeavors turn into worthless idols? Does your soul thirst despite a life of outward success? Return to the fountain of living waters and take a big drink. Surrender your leaky cisterns for a drink at the ever-fresh fountain of Christ.

“My people have committed two sins; they have forsaken me, the spring of living water,

and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

Jeremiah 2:13

Prayer Starter: Lord, stir my heart to believe that you are the fountain of living water. I surrender the leaky cisterns back to you.

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LyndonAbout the Author: Lyndon Wall served as a pastor in Alberta, Canada for fourteen years. He has also served the Jos, Nigeria mission community by providing pastoral care. Lyndon is the founder of Refresh Ministries, which is dedicated to helping people in ministry enjoy “healthy souls.”  Lyndon earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

refresh-devotionals-front-coverThis excerpt is from Lyndon’s devotional book Refresh. Lyndon wrote Refresh specifically for pastors, missionaries, and ministry workers whose souls have been parched by the stresses and tests of life. Stress is a reality of life. It can harm and drain us of vital energy. It must be responded to wisely. This devotional book was written to help you encounter Jesus Christ, the great refresher of the soul and give insights that will help you live with a renewed and joyful heart.

Refresh Day 5: Letting Go

To place yourself into the Lord’s care and keeping may not always come easily to you. To yield to his will and wisdom is also often a test of faith, but this is exactly what Jesus calls you to do.However, as you struggle with giving yourself completely to Christ, don’t forget that surrender is a gateway to a rested heart. When we realize that the one calling us to yield to him is the Lord of the universe for whom nothing is too hard, we can rest in his power. When we understand that he is the Lord Jesus who proved his love for us by dying on the cross for our sin, we can be assured he will exercise his power in loving ways. We must remember it is the Lord of power and love who calls us to yield to him. I encourage you to open the gate of surrender and find a more rested heart.

Day 5

Letting Go

“. . . Not my will but yours be done.”

Luke 22:43

What is most dear to you? What is most important to you? What do you live for? What would you die for? If you could describe your life as a success, what would it be like?

The reason I ask is that the greatest stresses in our lives are often caused by threats to what we hold most dear. When what we live for is at risk, it is nearly impossible to have a rested heart.

Jesus models what to do when what we hold dear is threatened. He surrendered his life into the care of his Father. He was in anguish, sweating great drops of blood, knowing that his life would soon be taken and the sin of the world put upon him. Ye he prayed, “Not my will but yours be done.” After Jesus surrendered his will, he was able to move with strength and grace to the accomplishment of his purpose. He was able to handle the physical and verbal attacks with grace and dignity. He was able to minister to the thief on the cross. He was able to fulfill his commitment to his mother, Mary. The grace and strength he displayed was won in the Garden of Gethsemane when he prayed, “Not my will but yours be done.”

Is something causing you great worry or stress? Perhaps God is calling you to surrender. Surrender means to release yourself into the care and control of another. Surrender what is dear to you into the care of Christ. Surrender and move forward with grace and strength. His love was proved at the cross. Who better to look after what is dear to you than someone who has demonstrated his love by dying for you?

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Prayer starter: Lord Jesus, thank you that your love for me was proved at the cross. Help me surrender what is most precious to me into your care.

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LyndonAbout the Author: Lyndon Wall served as a pastor in Alberta, Canada for fourteen years. He has also served the Jos, Nigeria mission community by providing pastoral care. Lyndon is the founder of Refresh Ministries, which is dedicated to helping people in ministry enjoy “healthy souls.”  Lyndon earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

refresh-devotionals-front-coverThis excerpt is from Lyndon’s devotional book Refresh. Lyndon wrote Refresh specifically for pastors, missionaries, and ministry workers whose souls have been parched by the stresses and tests of life. Stress is a reality of life. It can harm and drain us of vital energy. It must be responded to wisely. This devotional book was written to help you encounter Jesus Christ, the great refresher of the soul and give insights that will help you live with a renewed and joyful heart.

Refresh Day 4: The Soul Restorer

“. . . He restores my soul.”

Psalm 23:3

It is a wonderful experience to have a restored soul; it is difficult to live with a soul that needs restoring. King David learned that one of the Lord’s ministries was soul restoration. The work of repairing and renewing our inner person is one of our Lord’s specialties. He ministers to us by taking what has been tarnished and ravaged by time or events and making it new again. Jesus takes us from being broken down to the place of restoration.

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus proved he had the power of restoration. He restored the man’s withered hand in the Synagogue of Capernaum (Mk 3:1-6). He restored ten lepers with a word (Lk 17:11-18). His power went out to the bleeding woman, and she was made well (Mk 5:24-34).

Jesus not only restored broken bodies, he also brought wholeness to broken souls. Many things break our souls. Sin breaks us down. The woman caught in adultery was broken and humiliated. As she faced her sin in the public forum, facing possible death, Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more” (Jn 8:11, KJV). She was restored with his compassion and love. She went home free from condemnation.

 

As sin breaks down your soul, so does failure. The woman at the well was a failure at relationships. “You have had five husbands and the man you have now is not your husband” (Jn 4:18). Jesus offered her living water. She recognized who Jesus is and her need to turn from her sin. Her soul was restored. This wholeness from her encounter with Jesus opened the way for her to become a prime influencer in her community. This woman—along with the others mentioned in today’s meditation—could testify, “He restored my soul.” He took what was broken and made it whole. He took what was sick and made it well. He took what was hopeless and gave a miracle.

We must remember Jesus’ restoration work is very personal. “He restores my soul,” wrote David (emphasis mine). We often see the Lord restore the souls of others, but consider our case beyond his powers of restoration. David found God able in his very real life brokenness.

he-restores-my-soul-psalm-23-3cIs your soul a restoration project? Put the Carpenter from Nazareth in charge of the work. Invite him to bring wholeness to your diminished soul.

Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, renew what has been tattered by sin and failure.

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LyndonAbout the Author: Lyndon Wall served as a pastor in Alberta, Canada for fourteen years. He has also served the Jos, Nigeria mission community by providing pastoral care. Lyndon is the founder of Refresh Ministries, which is dedicated to helping people in ministry enjoy “healthy souls.”  Lyndon earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

refresh-devotionals-front-coverThis excerpt is from Lyndon’s devotional book Refresh. Lyndon wrote Refresh specifically for pastors, missionaries, and ministry workers whose souls have been parched by the stresses and tests of life. Stress is a reality of life. It can harm and drain us of vital energy. It must be responded to wisely. This devotional book was written to help you encounter Jesus Christ, the great refresher of the soul and give insights that will help you live with a renewed and joyful heart.

Refresh Day 3: A Refreshing Shower


“He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass:

as showers that water the earth.”

Psalm 72:6 (KJV)

These words written for the king of Israel find their ultimate fulfillment in Christ. Fresh cut grass releases a unique sweet fragrance. Mixed with this fragrance is the aroma of refreshing showers of rain. The dust is washed away, flowers are cleansed, and plants refreshed. Renewal, cleansing, and life all come from showers of rain. Our Lord is like refreshing rain showers. He cleanses, sweetens, and brings life.

Jesus used water to minister refreshment during his time on earth. It was the custom in our Lord’s time for a host to wash the feet of his guests. The accumulated dust from a day of walking on dirt roads needed to be cleansed away. Our Lord took up the towel and basin and cleansed and refreshed his disciples in this way. In our time we enjoy a refreshing shower or bath that washes away the grime and sweat of a day’s work. A shower does for us what the rain does for the earth.

Jesus not only washed his disciples’ feet, he also cleanses us from the grime and dust of sinful patterns. The Scripture, says “The blood of Jesus his Son purifies us from all sin” (1 Jn 1:7) and, “If we confess our sin he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9). When the dust from a day of life settles on our soul, Jesus offers us his basin and towel. Interactions with other people, the frustrations, mistakes, misspoken words, impure thoughts and attitudes need to be washed away. Jesus stoops to wash us and gently cleanses our hearts.

The rain cleanses, but it also freshens. There is new moisture for growth and renewal. In Israel, the Negev Desert will occasionally experience downpours of rain. These refreshing showers turn the parched wilderness into green beauty overnight. So too the refreshing presence of Christ renews us and encourages us to grow and go on. He gives us new encouragement, new incentive to move ahead in our faith, new perspectives that give hope to our weariness.

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Prayer Starter: Let us pray with the psalmist in Psalm 126:4, “Restore… oh Lord, like streams in the Negev.” Cleanse and wash my dusty soul; pour your fragrance over me.

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LyndonAbout the Author: Lyndon Wall served as a pastor in Alberta, Canada for fourteen years. He has also served the Jos, Nigeria mission community by providing pastoral care. Lyndon is the founder of Refresh Ministries, which is dedicated to helping people in ministry enjoy “healthy souls.”  Lyndon earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

refresh-devotionals-front-coverThis excerpt is from Lyndon’s devotional book Refresh. Lyndon wrote Refresh specifically for pastors, missionaries, and ministry workers whose souls have been parched by the stresses and tests of life. Stress is a reality of life. It can harm and drain us of vital energy. It must be responded to wisely. This devotional book was written to help you encounter Jesus Christ, the great refresher of the soul and give insights that will help you live with a renewed and joyful heart.

Refresh Day 2: Looking for Thirsty People


“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me.”

John 7:37

Jesus spoke these wonderful words on the last day of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.    In these words Jesus points the way to a refreshed heart. He shows us that he himself is the way. “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me.” Jesus had been teaching in the temple courts for several days. The crowds of people had been drinking in his words. He saw their parched hearts, their thirsty souls, the longing in their eyes to be refreshed, to be joyful again. The staleness of formalized religion had left them searching for a new reality of God. In the depths of their hearts they knew God was more than what they were experiencing, so they came to the feast. Some no doubt came out of duty, others thirsting and hoping for more. It’s to these thirsty ones that Jesus offers an invitation, an invitation to come to him, to drink and be satisfied.

What about Jesus is so refreshing? How can he make such a promise? It seems arrogant and unrealistic. The answer is simple: he is God. He sends refreshing rain to water the earth, He creates the cool of the evening to soothe the heat-parched world. As he refreshes the earth, so he refreshes our hearts. He created our hearts in the first place, and knows what restores us. He is the God who has the power to quench thirst.

His refreshment begins with forgiveness.. He died on the cross to pay for your sin. If you trust him to forgive your sin and be your savior, your sin is taken away. Jesus will place his refreshing spirit in you and begin to satisfy the thirst of your heart.

I urge you to seek him. Many people will go anywhere but to Jesus to satisfy their thirsty souls. The reasons for this are varied. Sometimes we simply don’t believe Jesus can refresh us. Sometimes we are determined to live independently of God, to make it on our own, to prove to God that we are gods ourselves. Whatever our reasons in the past, Jesus’ invitation still stands. He still says today, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me.”

Prayer Starter: Lord, please teach my heart that you are the thirst quencher.

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LyndonAbout the Author: Lyndon Wall served as a pastor in Alberta, Canada for fourteen years. He has also served the Jos, Nigeria mission community by providing pastoral care. Lyndon is the founder of Refresh Ministries, which is dedicated to helping people in ministry enjoy “healthy souls.”  Lyndon earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

refresh-devotionals-front-coverThis excerpt is from Lyndon’s devotional book Refresh. Lyndon wrote Refresh specifically for pastors, missionaries, and ministry workers whose souls have been parched by the stresses and tests of life. Stress is a reality of life. It can harm and drain us of vital energy. It must be responded to wisely. This devotional book was written to help you encounter Jesus Christ, the great refresher of the soul and give insights that will help you live with a renewed and joyful heart.

Refresh Day 1: Accept the Invitations

One of my earliest mission experiences involved service in the country of Ethiopia. I served with a team that provided food for those affected by famine. It was demanding work, both physically and emotionally.

One day an event occurred that picked up my spirits. In the midst of the daily demands of famine relief, a letter came. The ambassador of my home country was inviting me to a party. It was exciting to receive an invitation from someone in such a lofty position.

What struck me as significant that day was the contrast between where I was living and where I had been invited to go. The living conditions at my place of service included sleeping on a simple cot in a grass-roofed hut. My clothes were soiled with African dirt. My body had been assaulted by malaria and tropical parasites. Yet despite these conditions I was invited to a party at the posh residence of our country’s most senior official. The thought of it all lifted my spirit. Invitations can do that.

As you read the first section of this devotional, the condition of your soul may resemble my physical condition in the Ethiopian bush. Perhaps your soul is soiled, exhausted, and ravaged by the testing of life. I want you to know that the most senior official of the universe has sent you invitations that can lift your soul. These invitations are recorded in scripture. Some of them are obvious, some are more subtle, but they are there. I offer a few of them to remind you that you have been invited to encounter the great refresher of the soul, the Lord Jesus Christ.


Day 1

Accept the Invitation

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls,”

Matthew 11:28

It is wonderful to receive an invitation. An invitation means that we are considered special in some way by the person who invites us. It means that the person inviting us has a blessing to give. Jesus has a blessing in mind for you: the blessing of rest. He offers a heart that is freed from the anxieties of life, the pressure to perform, the fears that haunt us, the burdens that weigh us down and steal our joy.

What do you do with your tired soul? Where do you run to find rest? Or should I say, where do you stagger and stumble to find refreshment? Sometimes the legs of our souls can hardly carry us to the oasis that we seek. Elijah, exhausted from his fight for righteousness and fear for his life, fell in the wilderness, too exhausted to go on. He wished his life were over.

All around you are tired souls. You can see it in their eyes, the weariness, the lost hope, the absence of purpose, and sapped energy. Some have become wearied by doing right in the face of evil. We all have been burdened by our sin and need it lifted from us. The sins others have committed against us weigh us down. Some have become weary because of the relentless demands of life. Others are exhausted from unrealistic expectations that spring up from within themselves or from others. Still others are weary because they are working so hard to do God’s work for him. That work may be building their personal holiness, or it may be building his church. Both are exhausting if attempted with one’s own resources. Let me ask, are you weary? If so, why?

Whatever the cause of your weariness, I want you to know that you have mail. An invitation from Jesus awaits. It is an invitation to a rested heart. Reach out and take it. Your life will never be the same. No one encounters Jesus and remains the same.

Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, thank you for inviting me to the place of rest.

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LyndonAbout the Author: Lyndon Wall served as a pastor in Alberta, Canada for fourteen years. He has also served the Jos, Nigeria mission community by providing pastoral care. Lyndon is the founder of Refresh Ministries, which is dedicated to helping people in ministry enjoy “healthy souls.”  Lyndon earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

refresh-devotionals-front-coverThis excerpt is from Lyndon’s devotional book Refresh. Lyndon wrote Refresh specifically for pastors, missionaries, and ministry workers whose souls have been parched by the stresses and tests of life. Stress is a reality of life. It can harm and drain us of vital energy. It must be responded to wisely. This devotional book was written to help you encounter Jesus Christ, the great refresher of the soul and give insights that will help you live with a renewed and joyful heart.

Refresh: A Distant Promise

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink,

he who believes in me, as the scripture has said,

out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

John 7:37-38 (NKJV)

This is one of the most enticing promises of scripture. Perhaps, like me, you long to be refreshed in your inner being. I crave the ongoing refreshment of the Holy Spirit washing over my own soul with peace, contentment, and joy. Not only do I desire that myself, I thirst for an overflow in my heart that would spill into the lives of others so they too could taste refreshing waters of the promised Spirit.

Yet for too many years this promise has been like a mirage in the desert, and I have been like a desperate traveler never quite reaching the promised oasis. I found myself wondering, “Is the promise just a mirage? Or is a refresh of heart a real experience for those who have received the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus?” My training in the Scripture told me it was real. The experiences of others I read about told me that God did mean what he said in the Bible.

This conviction about the truth of the promise set me on a quest. I had to find my way to the oasis. My own survival depended on it. My soul was burdened and weary. I was coming to the end of my resolve to keep up the appearance of a happy Christian when in reality my heart was parched with a desperate thirst. I was serving as a pastor of a church, yet I was burned out. I needed answers.

I was heartened in my quest by reading of others who had been lost in the desert, yet had found their way to a joyful refreshed heart. They had found a heart out of which rivers of living water flowed.

Join me as I share with you lessons from my journey to the oasis of the soul—the place where hearts are refreshed and thirst quenched.

My hope is that the upcoming excerpts from my book you will receive through the Community of Christian Service Workers will spur you to encounter Jesus, the Great Refresher.

The first section of the book opens our minds to the great invitation we have to find refreshment. The second section reminds of what we must surrender to enjoy a refreshed heart. The third section reveals refreshing truths about our Lord that build our trust in him. The fourth part calls us to make choices that lead to refreshment.

With each devotional I have provided a prayer starter that will be a catalyst for you to linger in the presence of the Great Refresher.

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LyndonAbout the Author: Lyndon Wall served as a pastor in Alberta, Canada for fourteen years. He has also served the Jos, Nigeria mission community by providing pastoral care. Lyndon is the founder of Refresh Ministries, which is dedicated to helping people in ministry enjoy “healthy souls.”  Lyndon earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

refresh-devotionals-front-coverThis excerpt is from Lyndon’s devotional book Refresh. Lyndon wrote Refresh specifically for pastors, missionaries, and ministry workers whose souls have been parched by the stresses and tests of life. Stress is a reality of life. It can harm and drain us of vital energy. It must be responded to wisely. This devotional book was written to help you encounter Jesus Christ, the great refresher of the soul and give insights that will help you live with a renewed and joyful heart.