Tuesday, March 20, 2012


It is interesting just how many ways one can use some form of the word refresh .

Sometimes when the web is slow to find the site I am looking for all I need to do is hit Refresh.
     After a few hours into my day, I like to freshen up.
          Rooms and things can use refreshing now and again too.
                 Our memories need refreshing on a regular basis.
                      Some people's attitudes are very refreshing!
                           The weather lately has definitely been refreshing!!

It is a nice word isn't it? 
Just saying it makes me think of cool breezes.

Refreshment has the wonderful quality of becoming lovely memories that can, in themselves, refresh us.
I see Papa's fingerprints all over it!  It is such a God-word, isn't it?!

He loves to bring refreshment to our souls.  

Now there will be those who focus on the refreshment of our memories and say that it often is to remind us of something we have conveniently forgotten.  However, once we face something we can be free of it and that is refreshing!

Papa loves to give us a fresh perspective on things.
He did that for me this week.

It is so easy to miss gaining something fresh from Scripture when you have read it many, many times.
Two very familiar passages of Scripture could easily been passed over without much thought, but Papa had other ideas.

The first was found in the Nineteenth Chapter of Luke, the first ten verses.
It is the story of a little man named Zaccheus.
I had told this story in Sunday school quite a few times over the years.

The first sermon I ever heard my former pastor give was on Zaccheus.  He dressed as the man and acted the story out.  It was one of those refreshing moments.

For a couple of days I have been listening to Brennan Manning's book, The Furious Longing of God.
He mentioned Zaccheaus and explained what it was like in first century Israel to be a Jewish tax collector working for the Romans and profiting at your own people's expense.

Then my devotional called for the reading of the Scripture passage about this very person.
No coincidence to be certain!

It made me pay attention.
Papa had hit refresh!

Here was this guy, who was despised by his own people. 
No one ever invited him to dinner.  An invitation to eat together was an invitation to be friends.
No one spoke to him. 
He was shunned.

Jesus was passing by and Zaccheus was curious to get a look at him after all he had heard about Him.
Well, being short he couldn't see a thing and no one was about to make room for him to see, so he had no choice but to climb that tree.
Not if he wanted to catch a glimpse of the Rabbi everyone was talking about!

Jesus was surrounded by a huge crowd that was moving along with Him.
Not one in that crowd payed any attention to the little man in the tree.
No one but Jesus.

He overlooks not one person.
Not only didn't He overlook Him, but He sought Zaccheus out.
Just as He does every single one of us.
Then Jesus invited Himself to Zaccheus' home for dinner.

The message was clear to him.  Jesus was saying He wanted to be friends with Zaccheus!

To this point I do not think this little guy had thought beyond having his curiosity satisfied.
Jesus had.

In that moment, not only did Zaccheus realize his true heart need, but it was met!
All because Jesus saw, really saw the man in the tree.
He saw one whom He loved and He saw one who was meant to be so much more than he was at the moment.

The refreshment for me was the message Jesus was giving when He invited Himself to dinner.
How He knows us and how He loves us!

Brennan related a story of a student who attended a college where Brennan was ministering.
It was evident that the young man had a very poor self-image.  He told Brennan that he wished himself dead when he looked in the mirror every morning.

He received a gift one Christmas that turned everything around for him.

His father accompanied him on the bus for part of the trip back to school after the holiday.
His father was a very straight-laced, proper man.  Most likely not very demonstrative.

When they reached the end of the route, they got off to wait for the next bus that would take the student back to school.
A few rough men that worked with the father were across the street and they began to belittle and heckle the poor young man.  They were just confirming once more what he believed about himself already.

His father turned to him and embraced him, kissed him firmly on the lips and told him that he and the boy's mother were extremely proud to have him as their son and that would not change under any conditions.

This demonstration silenced the unruly men and changed the young man's whole perspective.
He was loved!
Everything changed for him.
He was refreshed.

That is what happened to Zaccheus.

This morning I discovered that I had read the wrong devotional yesterday.  I had turned to the wrong date.
Or did I?

Today's passage was found at the end of the Twentieth Chapter of Matthew.
It is the story of two blind men that Jesus healed.

Another very familiar passage.

These two continually cried out to get Jesus attention.
The crowd kept trying to silence them.  There were more important things happening than two blind men!

Two crowds following Jesus.
Focused on Jesus.
But were they really?

Weren't they focused on their own desires and thought they had found the One who would satisfy all of them?
Who had time to notice some poor blind men?
Or a little man sitting in a tree?

Once again Jesus noticed.
He stopped and once again gave his focused attention on the seemingly insignificant.

He knew what they wanted and needed, but asked anyway.
Our God loves for us to ask.
And He loves to answer with so much more than we could even imagine.
These blind men did not only get to physically see, but came alive spiritually also!

Ephesians three, verse Twenty puts it this way,
"Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,"
Exceeding abundantly!

Verse Twenty-One follows naturally,
"to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen."
Amen indeed!

Now are you refreshed?
I am!

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