refresh

The Origins of Overload

“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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:29,30 I don’t know about you, but emerging from the strange season we’ve been in for much of the past year has been a challenge. While I’m very excited to be living life and resuming normal activities, I’ve found that I need to ration energy as I pick up the pace and move ahead. Something about being totally slowed down and then going forward at full steam has been a struggle. In fact, it reminds me afresh of the incredibly fast pace of our 21st century world, and how it can take its toll on our souls if we’re not careful. You see, I believe our minds are like computer batteries, and when

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The Anointing of Nourishment

“But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” – 1 John 2:27 For the past few days, we’ve seen that as Christians, we have an anointing of power, light, and healing on our lives. Today, I want to talk about one final manner of authority we have in our heavenly covering, and that is nourishment. In Biblical times, the olive oil that was used to anoint physical bodies was also a critical source of nutrition. In dry and parched desert regions, the fat it provided was vital fuel that kept people going on long journeys across the wilderness. Even in small amounts, it had a satiating effect, and it was an important part of

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Surrender the Fight

“God again set a certain day, calling it ‘Today.’ This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’” – Hebrews 4:7 I’ve heard stories about soldiers who’ve gone to war, and though they depart from home full of life, vitality, and hope, they return bitter and disillusioned. Fighting for so long — often on the front lines and in the face of death itself — leaves them wounded and unable to let their guard down again. And while most of us haven’t been in this kind of physical combat, the fatigue of fighting is something that we all can relate to. So today, I’m writing to the warriors who are battle-scarred and weary. Life has dealt you a hard blow, and it’s been one thing after another. Maybe it’s losing

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Words Come Back

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” – James 3:9-11 Yesterday, we talked about the power of being an encourager and about how speaking words of life can unlock the image of God in others. However, if we’re honest, we don’t always feel like being positive, kind, and affirming. After all, life is hard, and it’s easy to wonder at the end of the day, what’s in it for me? Well today, I want to answer that question. In the ancient world, there was a prevailing belief that if you blessed someone, a little bit of that blessing splashed back on you. Conversely, if you

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The Joy of Encouragement

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:25 As Christians, we’re blessed to be a blessing. I remember when I moved to Oklahoma as a teenager, I tried out for the varsity basketball team since I had played JV throughout my 9th and 10th grade years. However, the day of the tryouts, they paired us off into two teams, and I ended up making a big mistake by letting my team’s ball go out of bounds instead of attempting to save it. I was new in town and I was already nervous, but to make matters worse, when I fumbled, the team captain totally “dressed me down” over my gaffe, and I felt like I was about six inches tall. For weeks following, I walked around school embarrassed, and I kept my head held low. Though there were other ways he might have handled

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