On a Saturday morning, I find myself sleeping in and spending more time in the Word. It is certainly a time of refreshment for me—the sleep and the time with God. We need rest. We need God.
Today’s verse speaks about how God restores and revives. The actual word translates to mean restore, refresh, renew, or revive. When you take a closer look, the Hebrew word “shub” means to turn back or return. This return is to a state you were once in, and this return is not from an occasional nap or reading the daily verse of the day. Shub points to a revival of your life, your strength, your energy. This is something God offers you daily, but it cannot happen if we are not staying connected and being mindful of His presence every day as we go through our day.
If you are feeling tired or drained or if you would like to sleep the next week of your life away, perhaps it is a good time to for shub, to turn back to Him and allow Him to pour into you. What is needed for shub? You simply return. Be intentional about prayer and reading your Bible. As you lean into Him in prayer, as you dig deeper into His Word, you will be restored and revived. Remember this shub isn’t a cat nap that gets you to finish your day with no major issues—there’s so much more! I pray this return to your first love will restore and revive you. The fruit of this revival points to the fullness of God.
“That’s where he restores and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to his name. – Psalm 23:3 [TPT]
I remember the time wearing your shirt inside out was the cool thing. I am glad that style has since passed; however, I see my son continuing this fad due to lack of attention during the wee hours of the morning. The Bible talks about the need to clean the inside first and then the outside will be clean. So often, we try so hard to work on the outside appearance, but we never let ourselves truly get broken and made new. We think the church attendance, the volunteer hours, the reciting of some traditional prayers will show we are faithful Christians; however, the heart is hardened by sin. We want to have a nice outer appearance, but we’re inside out my friends.
No matter how much you try to clean up the outside, understand that your insides show. Yes, they show. Whatever is in your heart will overflow and pour out around you. So if you are dirty, you can use all the cover up available but it cannot hide the dirt. You might be part of the gang “which outwardly appear beautiful” but inside you are unclean.
Allow God to work on your heart. Pray for Him to break you. Yes, you read that right. BREAK YOU. It sounds painful. It likely will be painful. There are parts of you that are not meant to be the way they are right now. The same goes for me. God prunes. He breaks. He grows. He restores. You cannot grow without the pruning. You cannot be restored, without first being broken. Are you okay with being a whitewashed tomb, or would you like to be beautiful inside, with a beauty that will overflow and point to Jesus?
“You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” – Matthew 23:26-27 [ESV]
These past two weeks, I continue to be reminded of floods. As we continue our series through Genesis, we were discussing Noah and the Flood, and the aftermath. As well, Facebook has reminded me of the flooding we had in 2011, with photos of local areas flooded from Tropical Storm Lee. I cannot fathom the view Noah would have had from the Ark as the earth was destroyed by flood waters.
When I look back on these flood photos from Tropical Storm Lee, I still cannot believe the area was flooded. I remember seeing photos of Knoebels Amusement Park underwater and thinking I would never again get to take a family visit to the park. Two years ago, I found myself walking around at Knoebels as if the place was never flooded. Some of the photos of the roads flooded by Lee I have driven on just last week. It was as if nothing ever happened.
All of this talk of flooding these past few weeks reminds me of the restoration of God. He is Jehovah Rophi, God who heals, Who restores. In Exodus 15, God proclaims this to the Israelites as they cry out because of the bitter water at Marah. Still today, God restores. Yes, we will suffer a little while; however, “He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.” Keep pressing forward. Restoration will come!
“He said, ‘If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, obeying His commands and keeping all His decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you.’” – Exodus 15:26 [NLT]
“In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.” – 1 Peter 5:10 [NLT]
I am not too keen on waking up early for the Cross Country season. As I get older, I appreciate extra sleep. Even so, I love the drives to school for practice. I especially enjoy the moment alone when I’m driving the back road and witnessing all of the beauty around me. God never ceases to amaze me.
This morning, as I drove home, I looked before me and praised God for the beautiful farmland. I rejoiced in the amazing sunrise I was experiencing as I sang along to a praise song on the radio. Before I knew it, I was even more amazed. Three deer were prancing along. I slowed down the van as they crossed the road. They continued to leap through the corn field, and then they crossed the road again. For a moment, everything around me stopped. All the noise. All the busyness. All eyes focused on God’s creation doing the simplest of things—leaping along through the corn field.
I was reminded this morning of the great promise written in Isaiah, the promise that “the lame will leap like a deer.” God heals. God restores. God alone qualifies us. He is our strength. Praise Him and Him alone. Continue to press forward and tread on the heights He places before you. Leap like a deer today!
“The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.” – Habakkuk 3:19a [NIV]
“The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.” – Isaiah 35:6 [NLT]