“I’ve heard it’s possible to have a personal relationship with Jesus, but I am not sure I have one,” said the high school girl who attends a Bible study that Lydia leads at one of the two high schools they serve. Lydia and Travis Klingforth, missionaries to Kenya for seventeen years with the Navigators, returned to the U.S. because of Travis’ parents’ health. (The LORD called Travis to be a missionary at a FC service when Travis was a senior in high school like He did Bonnie Hernandez.) Still serving with the Navigators, they work with recent immigrants, high school students seeking to know the LORD, and giving prenatal classes. Lydia stated, ”God is at work in San Diego. Revival is afoot.” One young man accepted the LORD as his Savior five weeks ago, and he brings new attendees to the local Bible study weekly. Recently his younger brother accepted the LORD too. Lydia admonished us, ”Do not give up on public schools.
The Klingforths’ sermon’s title was “The God Who Refreshes Us.” Their four main points were: He refreshes us physically, emotionally, spiritually and relationally. “He renews my strength.” (Psalm 23:3) was the basis of the sermon with the story of Elijah.
Elijah bravely stood up against the 850 false prophets in 1 Kings 19:1-15,18. After Ahab’s wife Jezebel threatened his life, exhausted and frightened Elijah ran away. However, he had a matchless advocate, Adonai, who ministered to him graciously: 1) physically as the LORD provided food and encouraged him to rest. Then he had enough strength to travel forty days and nights to Mount Sinai. 2) emotionally as the LORD asked him, ”What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9b) Elijah answered that he was the only prophet left and that they were trying to eliminate him. God listened to Elijah. Lydia reminded us, ”Don’t believe everything you think.” What a profound statement to consider. 3) spiritually as the LORD encouraged Elijah. The LORD told him to stand before Him on the mountain. The LORD was not in the violent wind, earthquake, or fire. The LORD was in a gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19:11-12) (NLT) 4) finally relationally as the LORD showed Elijah that he was not alone. The LORD spoke to him,
provided food and rest for him and showed his love for Elijah.
Travis and Lydia asked, ”How does the LORD minister to you?” Travis pointed out that the LORD does not use us like a hammer in our toolboxes. He loves us and sees each one of us as His beloved child. Physically He made us. He is the Great Physician, and the LORD invites us to care for our bodies. We need the rhythms of food and rest. To prove that need He even set aside a day in the Old Testament, the Sabbath for rest. In this New Testament era, we do not need to be legalistic, but we do need to be cognizant of our need to care for our bodies physically with a rest day. The question they asked was “In what ways does He want you to do so?”. For Larry and me, we have joined a local gym, and before we went to Israel, we were going four to five days a week. We know we need to return to the gym because we feel better when we do.
The next area was emotionally. The Klingforths asked, “When you were young, what emotions were you allowed to have and express?” Some congregants answered, “respect for others,” “happiness,” “I love you,” “sadness.” The LORD made our emotions, and He can handle our expressions. Throughout the psalms emotions are communicated clearly. In Psalm 10:12 “Arise O LORD! Punish the wicked, O God!” A whole category displaying raw emotions is lament or grief. “The psalms of lament comprise the largest category of psalms, making up about one third of the entire book of Psalms.” (https:www.gotquestions.org/psalms-of-lament) Our LORD listens to us as expressed in Psalms 31:22
“In panic I cried out,
‘I am cut off from the LORD!’
But you heard my cry for mercy
and answered my call for help.” (NLT)
David wrote this psalm, and it shows his intimacy with the LORD. Each of us can have that closeness as you spend time with Him. The Klingforth's suggested you fill out this sentence and say them to the LORD. “God, I feel _____________ because _______________________; yet I will trust you because you _________________.”
God also ministers to us spiritually. Lydia shared how she even in Kenya had trouble setting aside consistent time for reading the Word and praying to the LORD daily, and she felt guilty. The accuser, the devil, loves to capitalize on our emotions of guilt. Then twelve years ago a leader of their group visited them and asked them how things were going? Both Lydia and Travis shared their struggles of having consistent, daily quiet times, and the leader prayed for them. Psalm 27:8 states,
”My heart has heard you say, ’Come and talk with me.’
And my heart responds,’ LORD, I am coming.’” (NLT)
This verse indicates it is a two-way communication, not just David, the author, giving a list of complaints, desires or wishes. We can “Be still and know that I am God. ”(Psalm 46:10) They learned about “listening prayers” which include spending time meditating on the Word; singing and praying the psalms; journaling your prayers, listening to God through His creation, and being still before Him. (https:www.navigators.org) For this section Travis and Lydia asked these two questions, ”What do you want to tell God? What do you want to hear from God?”
The final way God ministers to us is relationally. In our overpopulated cities and towns, we can be surrounded and yet feel isolated. Travis encouraged us to visualize a brick wall with cement as mortar. The cement connects the bricks together. “Picture your relational wall with some elders, some peers, and some youngers connected to you. Who is in your wall? If there are any cracks or breaks in the cement, how can they be mended?” “God is doing a work in this place,” said Lydia. However, we need to run the race with perseverance as in Hebrews 12:1.
We often hear of how we can minister to others, but rarely do we think overtly about how God ministers to each of us and how communication with Him can be two way. “God Who Refreshes Us” reminded us of those truths so that we can be brighter lights and saltier in this dark world.
Written by Larry and Annette Linthicum