stronger -


On a few occasions, I’ve felt like I was about to drown – and on a few, my friends and I have saved someone from drowning. Living on the ocean as a young man, those opportunities came quick and unexpected. It’s not easy to save a man from drowning in powerful ocean waves when he’s never been there before, and that’s usually who we had to help. He’s thrashing around with no sense of purpose. He’s heavy. The waves have the power to knock us off our feet. And then trying to drag him up to shore and do chest compression takes a few guys to help. Sounds like this year, 2020, the drowning, thrashing big guy.
Peter and John in Acts chapter 3 are going to pray at the temple. They’ve arrived at the entrance called “Beautiful” and run into a man begging who has been underwater his entire life. He’s lame, and there is no cure, no end. Peter tells the man, “I don’t have money but I’ll give you this – by the power of the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk!” The beggar stands up. He’s healed.
Then Peter ministers a message to the gathered crowd. He uses a word of renewal for you and me today, one of the most powerful concepts in the Bible. In fact, Luke describes this moment with a word that only appears once in the entire New Covenant.
“And now you must repent and turn back to God so that your sins will be removed, and so that times of refreshing will stream from the Lord’s presence.” Acts 3:19 (TPT)
Here is that same word with the context of the words included;
So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19 (AMPC)
This is HUGE. We can be refreshed. This word refreshing is ‘Anapsuxis’ in the Greek. This is the only place in the New Testament it is used. It means “the flowing of life into places that are dying.”
Look at the definition: recovering from the effects of heatreviving with fresh air. The effects of heat are burnout, anxiety, depression, disappointment, inner turmoil. The reviving with fresh air is the breath of God, the ‘ruach’—His very breath. This is refreshing—the renewal of courage, love, hope and faith.
And then “the presence of the Lord” is the final concept. This means to be face to face with him. It is deeply intimate. He is our Father – and that is a picture we must reinforce in our minds and hearts every day.
Many of us and our friends have felt this year like we’ve been hit with powerful waves and lost our breath. We have all been in the position of drowning.
Here’s the simple strategy that produces a reviving, refreshing and renewal of our courage, boldness, faith and hope: Repent.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
Nehemiah began his remarkable journey in rebuilding what had been destroyed by the enemy—the restoration of Jerusalem. He began by repentingHe repented of his unbelief, of his sins, of his mistakes—and for the mistakes, sins and omissions of his entire family.
When Nehemiah repented God gave him a new dream. And, and a new identity. Nehemiah was refreshed, revived and renewed. After his time of repentance, he was never again the same. The theme is repeated in the New Testament. The lame man was healed—and was never again the same.
The world is drowning in powerful waves of disease, anxiety, fear, stress, rage and deception. We must repent, be revived and refreshed—and then go pull others out of the waves!
God’s not looking for someone else to do this. He’s looking at you and me. It’s the picture of John and Peter. They were together. They were in brotherhood. And in that power of community, they had tremendous results.
Repent and be refreshed. Trusting Jesus to do what he said he would do in forgiving us is the first step out of the grip of the waves.
Believing for a refreshing week in Jesus!