Times of Refreshing

Photo: Cody J. Haines

By: Carole L. Haines 

Therefore, repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. 
(Acts 3:19) 

I just finished giving a talk on the dangers of denial in our lives. I am a leader in Celebrate Recovery and this Ministry has done more to grow me up in Christ in the last 3-4 years than any other time of growth in my life. I love what one of the founders said, “We’re all in recovery because we are all sinners.” There is no sidestepping or minimizing the need for us to admit, repent and return to God. It must hang out of our lives like a white flag of surrender to Him. I once heard confession defined as, “agreeing with God about our sin.” Amen to that!!! 

But Peter shares a great insight into the benefit of repenting and returning to God. 
 “Therefore, repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” 
(Acts 3:19) 

Denial keeps us trapped in our sin and the consequences of it. Facing ourselves can feel scary but take it from one who has and is doing just that; times of refreshing do come. Peace floods our souls; joy fills our hearts. Confession is a real struggle but the Times of Refreshing are so worth it. Go through, but don’t go alone. Go with God and some trusted brothers and sisters in Christ.   

“The only thing that will enable me to enjoy adversity is the acute sense of eagerness of allowing the life of the Son of God to evidence itself in me. No matter how difficult something may be, I must say, “Lord, I am delighted to obey You in this.” Instantly, the Son of God will move to the forefront of my life and 
 will manifest in my body that which glorifies Him.  
(Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest; May 17, 2021) 

The Same Spirit

BNH

by: Carole L. Haines

“Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.”
(Ecclesiastes 11:5) 

Sitting out on my porch this morning I was just listening to the sounds of Spring. Birds, bees, the occasional motor of a mower in the distance. But when all was still, what stood out the most was the sound of the wind in the trees. Wind creates a different sound, depending on the kind of tree it is moving through. Pine trees can sound like gentle Ocean waves. Maples, Sycamores, and Oaks create more of a flapping sound, like a flag. It was beautiful just to listen, to observe their movement and admire their strength. 

The verse from Ecclesiastes above points to some of the Mysteries of God’s Activities in our lives. Jesus says this: 

The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)  

Even as the wind moves and sounds differently through different types of trees, the Holy Spirit moves differently, uniquely through each of us.  
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7) 

I need you, My Sister, My brother. I need the unique gift you bring to the Body of Christ. We need each other. Varieties of ministries, varieties of effects, varieties of gifts; but the same Lord, the same God, the manifestation of the same Spirit moving through each of us. I love the incredible diversity of the rhythm of the Spirit through each one of us, that ebb and flow of His presence. Never try to be anyone other than uniquely and completely you, Dear Believer. We need each other. Only together, are we The Whole Body of Christ. 

All those Little Obediences

CLH

by: Carole L. Haines

I was praying this morning as I got things together for my husband’s breakfast when the Lord gently nudged me to apologize to him about something. He was still sleeping but I went in and woke him up to say, “I’m sorry!” He said he doesn’t mind me waking him because it shows how much I care about our relationship. He has the power to fall back asleep within seconds, unlike myself, who would pace the floor trying not to forget to apologize later. He spares me the uncomfortable, anxious waiting.

I must go to others more often than I care to admit, I have a bit of a mouth problem, kinda like a runny nose, only it’s a runny mouth (Ha Ha). Yet God showed me something about all these little obediences. It is all these acts of doing what God says, when He says to do it, that lead to ultimate transformation and maturity in my walk with Him, and in relation to others.  

“Therefore, if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” (Matthew 5:23-24) 

I go to others out of a love for God, not always a love for them. But it still changes my view of them, by valuing them as God does. I’ve received all kinds of responses, from denials that anything was ever wrong (even though their behavior toward me made me feel that this was not true), to embraces and thanks.

But no matter what response I get, I must go when God says go. I must obey the promptings of the Lord in these matters for my own healing and growth. It is up to the other person if they want to receive, deny, or accept it. That is not my responsibility. My call is to obey and I always try to do this. 

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” (Romans 12:18) 

I have reached out to others but never heard replies. This can be so disappointing, and humbling. But the point is, I have done as much as is possible for me to do and I need to tell you, the peace is Oh so fine. I am free from guilt over these matters. All those little obediences have led me to have such an openness toward God. They truly lead to deep growth and contented joy. Try it, you’ll see what I mean. 

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