Refreshed, Restored, Renewed

When I was a little girl, each year our family went camping. Our favorite campground was Calaveras Big Trees State Park in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. The redwoods are majestic, and the Stanislaus River splashes around and over rocks. My parents would take us to the river, where my brothers would fish with my Dad while my Mom and I would play in the water, and sit on the big rocks or sandy riverbank. My Mom always had a book in hand and sunflower seeds in the other. I played in the shallows and watch the river flow. I splashed my feet, letting it orchestrate the hymns my mom and I would sing or the songs I would make up. I never got tired of hearing the river’s soothing sound or seeing the beauty of the crystal clear water cascading over the rocks. I hated to leave, and I would long to return to this blissful refreshing place. Even now, when I think of the river, its beauty and sounds, my tensions ease, and my soul releases quiet sighs.

My husband and I have a special place in our hearts for the Scenic Columbia Gorge Highway in northern Oregon. That verdant 24-miles stretch of scenic highway 30 is one of my favorite places to renew and refresh my spirit. There, the same feelings of refreshment I felt long ago, as a child beckon me–the calm serenity of the glistening waters, the roaring waterfalls, and the bubbling sounds of the brooks; the clear, clean air, and the beautiful pines. I love it there!

I love the sound of  the rain or waves crashing along the beach. We have a neighbor behind our master bedroom window with a pond and fountain: Frogs croak, crickets chirp, and the water bubbles. We listen to it every night. The sound is serene, restful, and refreshing. Sometimes it’s rhythmic, as in chorus, the frogs croak out their nightly song. As they sing, my tension, anxiety, and stress wash away.

God’s Word uses water to describe refreshment.

King David said, “As the deer pants for water, so my soul longs for You.” (Psalm 42:1.)

“He leads me beside the still water.” (Psalm 23)

“He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.” (Isaiah 49:10)

But what about the storms of life? The overwhelming difficulties. Here are a few phrases you may have heard.

“I’ve gone overboard,”

“I’m in too deep,”

“I think I’m going under,”

“I can barely keep my head above the water,”

“I’m drowning in debt,”

“Drowning in depression,”

“I could cry a river,”

“The storms of life surround us,”

“I was sinking deep in sin,”

“I’m battered by the waves,”

“When sorrows like sea billows roll.”

We can get carried away by life’s ebbs and flows, can’t we? If we look at the crashing waves and feel the biting howling wind of our circumstances, it is elementary to think the worst. Doubt and fear of the outcome cloud our judgment, and we begin sinking. Flailing our arms, trying to tread water, we cry, “Lord save me!”

This very thing happened to Peter, Jesus’ disciple. You’ll find this account in Matthew 14, starting in verse 22. Jesus told his disciples to get in the boat and head across the Sea of Galilee, while He stayed behind to pray. In the middle of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on water. They were terrified, thinking they saw a ghost, but Jesus told them to have courage and not be afraid.

Peter said, “If it is you, Lord, tell me to come out there to you.”

Jesus told him, “Come.”

So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water with his eyes on Jesus. Then, Peter took his eyes off of the Lord. With his focus on the wind and waves, scared, Peter began sinking.

He cried out, “Lord, help me!”

Immediately, Jesus reached out and lifted him from the water.

“You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Jesus said as they climbed in the boat. The wind immediately subsided.

In Mark 4, the disciples were again out on the sea when a massive storm came upon them while Jesus was sleeping. They were terrified the boat would sink, and they would all drown.

They woke Jesus up, “Don’t you care if we drown?” they cried.

Jesus rebuked the storm and said, “Peace, be still.” Again, the wind abated, and the waves were completely calm. He said to His disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Aren’t we like that? We get so afraid of life’s storms. We turn this way and that. We look at our situation and say, “What are we going to do?” We bail water by turning to self-help books, and internet self-help gurus, crying out as though God has never helped us before. Where is our faith? Hasn’t God been faithful in the past?

It’s not enough to believe in God; we need to believe Him. Believe that He is who He says He is; believe that He can do what He says He can do. If we keep our eyes steadfast on Christ Jesus, it is comforting to know when we’re going under, He can calm our storms as He did for the disciples and lift us out of the troubled water as He did for Peter.

Here’s a great line from Psalms 23, “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters.” Do you notice that He makes us lie down? He knows we need rest. He is our peace, our haven. He leads us to a place where we can feed on His Word and rest in Him. And He leads us to water. We need the living water only He can provide. Notice the waters are still. He calms the tempest around us. “Peace be still.” He will lead us beside the still waters and restore our soul. The word says, “He will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Him.” (Isaiah 26:3)

In John 7:37-38, Jesus says,” If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”

Lord, I’ve come to you for your living water, Lord, I drank and was satisfied, but now, why do I feel dry? Have I quenched the Holy Spirit? Am I harboring sin, anger, or unforgiveness? Is my trust being tossed about by my trials? Am I stressing in the storm? Have I been saying, “Have mine own way” or “Have Thine own way?”

Fill me, Jesus. Still the storm in my life. Calm the troubled waves of doubt and disappointment. Let me forgive and be free. Forgive my sin and raise me out of the surging sea of deep waters. Let me trust that you will get me through the trial. Heal the hurt. Let my loathing turn to love. Restore and refresh my spirit. Forgive me and fill me.

“The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail (Isaiah 58:11.)

“Fill me up, fill me up, Lord. Fill me with your Spirit till my cup overflows.”

Do you need a blessing, an abundance, a refreshing overflowing from the Lord? I do! 

“Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:2.)

“Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7.)

To the Samaritan woman in John 4:14, Jesus says, “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become to him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

“Spring up O well, within my soul.”

Believing with all my heart that God created me to sing–I sing. I find when I’m not writing music or singing, my joy is diminished. There are days when I’m singing all the time, and there are days when I am so low that I can barely hum. Music has a calming effect, soothing the soul and refreshing the spirit, much like hearing the river and watching it glisten. In hymns and other songs of the church, we hear these phrases:

“Like A River Glorious is God’s Perfect Peace.”

“When peace like a river attendeth my way,”

“There shall be showers of blessing:
This is the promise of love;
there shall be seasons refreshing.
Sent from the Savior above.
Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need.
Mercy drops round us are falling,
but for the showers, we plead.”

“The floodgates of blessing on us throw open wide.”

“Tho’ my weary steps may falter,
and my soul athirst may be.
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy, I see!”

In Southern California, I had the privilege of singing with The Gary Bonner Singers under the direction of Dr. Gary Bonner. During concerts, Doc would talk about having Thanksgiving Dinner.

He’d say, “The potatoes were so good, I have to have a second helping.”

He would then ask the choir for a second helping of a section of a particular song because he said it fed his soul. He said that it washed over him, refreshing him. Music is such a gift to us. It lifts, calms, and soothes the spirit. It transcends language and culture and speaks to the heart, much like the tranquility of the river, music refreshes the soul. Music is much more potent than any of us can imagine. Listen to the wrong songs, and they can steer you into disillusion, sadness, or rage. Listen to the right lyrics, and they can usher you into the very throne room of God. Oh, to be refreshed at God’s table! To let His presence wash over us! We can even ask Him for a second helping, a double portion of His Spirit.

Wash Over Me
Words and Music: Kaci Rigney 2012

Wash over me, wash over me
O cleanse my heart and make me clean
Wash over me, wash over me
O Jesus, please, wash over me

I need Your strength. I need Your love.
I need Your peace, wash over me.
I need Your will to be my own
So Jesus, please, wash over me

Pour out Your grace upon my soul
A gushing stream wash over me
Just like a wave or waterfall
Lord Jesus, please, wash over me

A cleansing fount of glorious life
Cleanse me from sin, from fear and strife
So I may be refreshed, renewed
O Jesus, please, wash over me

In Don Piper’s book “90 Minutes in Heaven, Don describes the music in heaven. It is so amazing! I was brought to tears by his description of the music. Here is a short excerpt:

When we worship God, our problems fade into the background and we can focus on the One who is worthy of our praise – the One who created music for our benefit, so that we may have the means with which to praise Him. And in the process of worshipping Him, reflecting on who He is, our souls are filled with His Spirit and we are refreshed and renewed.”

Several years ago, I wrote a song about worship.

What Happens When We Worship
Words and Music: Kaci Rigney 2000

What happens when we worship?
What happens when we praise?
When we kneel in adoration
Or shouts of triumph raise?
What happens when we lift up
The holy name of Christ?
Or stand in awe and wonder
As a living sacrifice?

The angels join and sing
The courts of heaven ring
The saints and angels cry
“Worthy is the King”
And Jesus Christ, our Lord
In earth and heaven adored
Steps into our midst
His mighty pow’r to pour

The Prince of Darkness flies
And takes his hordes and lies
For they cannot abide
The saints and angels cries
Our souls will find release
Our anxious striving cease
With fear and sorrows gone
Our joyful songs increase

Refreshing streams, the restorative filling of the Holy Spirit, and renewing our souls in worship–all revive the body, soul, and spirit. Do you need to be filled and refreshed today? The Living Water awaits to refresh and renew your soul.

Springs
Words and Music: Kaci Rigney 2015

Springs of mercy flow from Your presence
Springs of blessing flow from Your throne
Springs of power flow from Your presence
Springs of healing from Your throne

I want to draw from Your presence
I want to draw from Your throne
I want to draw from Your presence
A refreshing spring that will never run dry
A refreshing spring that will never run dry

Springs of pardon flow from Your presence
Springs of wisdom flow from Your throne
Springs of goodness flow from Your presence
Springs of favor from Your throne

I want to draw from Your presence
I want to draw from Your throne
I want to draw from Your presence
A refreshing spring that will never run dry
A refreshing spring that will never run dry

Spring up O well within my soul
Spring up O well and take control
Spring up O well within my soul
Spring up O well and make me whole

I want to draw from Your presence
I want to draw from Your throne
I want to draw from Your presence
A refreshing spring that will never run dry
A refreshing spring that will never run dry

Be Refreshed, Restored, and Renewed through our Redeemer.

Blessings,

Kaci

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