Our Souls need Relationships
“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” NIV
Even if you didn’t know where it came from you may have heard this saying before as it is used often. Not only is it true in a practical sense, it is also true in a spiritual sense.
Let’s look at this as an analogy for our life. When we look at more of Eccl 4, verses 10 to 12 we can see that there are three ‘strands’ mentioned. If we build a cord of these three strands we too will not be easily broken.
1—The strand of Accountability (V10) The reason why many of us fall or fall away is because we don’t have someone that we are accountable to. We need relationships. If we have people of faith surrounding us, if/when we trip up, we are held to account and it is great to know that there is someone ready to lift us up and help us to be restored.
2– The strand of Unity (V11). The key word here is together. Solomon records that one benefit of ‘together’, is to keep warm. One of the ways we keep God’s love burning in our hearts is by encouraging and inspiring each other. Let’s keep each other’s heart and soul warm by lifting one another up.
3– The strand of Resistance (V12). There is no doubt about it, we will face hardships and challenges. Sometimes we find we are simply ‘battle weary’. When we are tired to the point of being overwhelmed, and at risk of being overpowered, is the time when our brother or sister in Christ can help us stand strong.
Simply, we are not created to be on our own. The beauty of these three strands is that it makes us stronger. If you are not connected in, or maybe you have drifted since COVID and not yet returned. Now is the time to reconnect. Not only will you be made stronger, you will help others be strong.
Let’s be part of a positive relationship with Jesus by doing life with our Church Family. Remember the Holy Trinity? God, Holy Spirit & Jesus—they all work together as our example. The challenge is to join them, aim to be more and more like them. Are you in?
Father, we thank You for Your blessing over us and our Church Family. Help us to be unified. Help us to speak the same language and share the same vision that You have for us. Help us to stand in unity…preferring one another over ourselves and loving You above all else. Thank you that we are all in Your family and that you provide us each other to do life with. We pray a blessing over these relationships. Continue to connect us with like minded people that will sharpen us and bring us to a new level of faith in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Applying the Thirst Principle
One of the Psalms we will look at today is Psalm 63:1
‘You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water. PSALM 63:1 NIV
David, the psalm writer, says that he is thirsty for God, just as he were in the desert. Take a few moments and place yourself in the middle of a dessert in your mind’s eye.
You are in that desert, it is extremely hot. The hot air is very still and envelops you. Your lips and mouth are dry. You are perspiring with the intensity of the heat. You need something to drink! All your thoughts are about water. You think about finding water. You wonder if you could dig for water. It is hard to think about anything else but water, water, water!
You feel that driving impulse? That overwhelming focus? Your thoughts about water have become all consuming.
Linger on those feelings and imagine now, that thirst, that intense focus on water, is replaced with Jesus!
Sometimes we forget just how blessed we are and we take a lot for granted. If we know Jesus, and have accepted Him as our Saviour—we are grateful, yes, but how often do we give Him our attention and focus?
The Bible tells us over and over how much He loves us:
· He calls us His children—1 John 3:1
· He chose us, “a people for his own possession” 1 Peter 2:9
· He made us a new creation—2 Cor 5:17
· He wants to help us— Is 41:10
· He gives us purpose, loves us forever— Ps 138:8
· He watches over us—Prov 15:3
The list goes on and on. How are we going to respond? How can we long after Him, the way He longs after us?
Let us consider Him as our first priority when we arise, as we prepare for the day; as we eat, as we work, as we interact. Let Jesus be in our thoughts, mind and our focus.
This week, consider how you might thirst after Jesus, the Living Water!
Praying is one of the best ways to do this:
We can pray:
to feel closer to God | for guidance and inspiration |
to affirm your faith | for your loved ones.|
for people around you who will support and encourage you to enhance your spiritual journey.
for distance away from people and places that pull you away from God | for Jesus’ example and character to influence your life as you strive to be more like Him.
Give God thanks for who He is, for what He has done, and for His faithfulness. Thank Jesus for dying in your place to be the sacrifice so that you could be in relationship with Him. Thank the Lord that although you are not perfect, you are deeply loved.
Applying the Refresh Principle
Psalm 19 is another remarkable psalm celebrating the revelation of God, first through creation (vs 1-6) and then in His Law (vs 7-14).
We are going to take a brief look at verse 7 today, but be encouraged to explore the whole Psalm, it is encouraging and convicting.
‘The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.’ Psalm 19:7 NIV
This is a declaration that tells us what the Bible is and does. It’s starts with its identity—The Bible is a law, or instruction, pointing us in the direction of what is right and away from what is wrong. It does this perfectly without the slightest defect, never lacking what is needed to address our circumstances.
It’s function is to revive our souls, to refresh and renew and to remind us that the pleasures of obedience to God’s law are delightfully superior to all rival claims that would lead us in another direction.
When we are blessed with the refreshment of our souls, the Bible also tells us what to do with.
Proverbs 11:25 NIV ‘A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed’
Here we can learn that we can be generous and not run out. We are called to not just pray for a blessing upon others, that wishes them well and gives them good words; but bestow blessings on them. We are to literally give good things liberally, cheerfully and generously. The promise for us as we give generously is, that we too will be blessed. We thrive and flourish both in body and soul when we share what we have with others. God’s blessings are inexhaustible. Try it this week and see how you too become refreshed as you bless others. God will draw us more and more into His character and more able to help others. Let’s be a part of this wonderful generosity!
Heavenly Father, quiet my heart I pray and help me to be still before You. In that quietness of my mind and stillness of my heart, I ask that you would refresh my spirit and soul. Please shower me with renewed strength, that only comes from You.
Thank You for Your promises to those who freely turn to You.
I ask that You would help and show me how to bless those around me with generosity and cheerfulness, so that through me, others will witness Your grace and mercy and give You praise.
In Your holy name, I pray. Amen
Restoration. What does that mean for us? What does it mean when Scripture talks about God ’restores my soul’? How can God restore my soul?
For God to do anything in our lives, we need to let Him. We need to let the focus be on God’s work in our lives, not on the problems and seemingly hopeless issues.
In the coming weeks and months we are all being encouraged to look at restoration and what that means for us as individuals and as a church. We can explore together the many aspects of restoration and reflect over it bit by bit and allow God’s presence to reveal to us what needs restoring in our lives, and how we allow that restoration to happen.
In the famous Psalm 23—David writes about three principles of ‘restoring my soul’. These include rest, reflection and replenishment.
This Psalm is composed in a way that aids in a time of enjoyment, to rest and relax in God’s presence. Have you done that lately?
Secondly, restoration involves reflection. David's soul was restored as he looked at life from God’s perspective. He felt protected, safe and secure under the leadership of God. Are you feeling that protection, safety and security under God today?
Thirdly, restoration included replenishment. Both rest and reflection led to a renewed vigour to live for God. This replenishment also included an anticipation to be with God forever in the future.
With this perspective on life, David could live with a restored soul, prepared for the problems of the day. He knew God was with him, cared for him, and would never leave his side. There was no battle too big for him to face with God in his life.
The same is true in our own lives. If we wish to see God restore our soul, we need to make time to rest, reflect and replenish. We cannot expect to live life with a fresh sense of God’s presence in our lives, if we constantly rush from one issue to the next. To be restored takes time, focused on God and His greatness, to renew us with hope and joy regarding this life and anticipation for eternity.
Connect here to read and reflect on this week’s devotional word.
Where is your resilience level at, what can you do to raise your resilience level?
Attached as a pdf.
Check out the PDF for this week’s devotion
Click on the YouTube link to hear the sermon that Pastor Sonya spoke on Sunday
Our desire and heart needs to reflect God.
What we treasure is where our heart will be.
A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
There is a healing effect when we are joyful, cheerful people. We read in the above proverb that a joyful heart is good medicine. The word used for "joyful" here is the Hebrew word "sameah" which means, 'to be glad, happy, or joyful.' The idea behind this word is that someone is choosing to rejoice - to consider the good that God has done, rather than the misery and the opportunity to be sad and depressed. That is why we are to seek to maintain a "joyful" heart.
University of Montreal's Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery, discovered that when rats are subjected to cold, fatigue, frustration, noise, and other stressful conditions, they develop physical symptoms. Their blood pressure soars and they develop peptic ulcers just to name a few. Other research done by the American Medical Association by a Dr Seyle showed that hatred, frustration, and anxiety are the worst stresses. If you forcefully restrain a normally active rat, deadly frustration results. If you put a mouse and a cat in adjoining cages, the mouse will die of anxiety.
This kind of "broken spirit" will, according to the Lord, dry up the bones. This is a horrible condition because our bones are not only our main source of strength and stability, but they are also the place where our blood is produced. Without our bones we will surely die in short order. What is difficult though is that we cannot go up to someone who is dried up in their affections and tell them to be joyful. That does not help them. They know they are without joy - and can sense the drying up of their vitality. An admonition to stop this is like asking the sun to stop shining simply by requesting it. What they need is a supernatural infusion of joy - or even better an infusing of a joy producing principle that will not go away with the seasons or the up and down existence of being alive.
Where can we obtain joy? That is the million dollar question. Fortunately, we are instructed in where to find joy in the Gospels. We have just celebrated Christmas where the angels announced ‘Do not be afraid, for I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people, for today there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.’ Luke 2.
For those afflicted with sorrow, sighing, sadness, and a broken spirit there is wonderful news. Jesus came to bring great joy. He came to give us the oil of joy poured upon our heads rather than a spirit of fainting. The cause of the broken spirit is our separation from God - and its remedy is turning to God through Jesus Christ. That is how we can have our sorrow turned to laughter and our gloom to everlasting joy.