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.

Refresh Ministries John 7 37 38 T1

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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.