Refresh others in Christ

It was just a little wave of the hand.

During our last week of summer break, my kids and I  trekked out to Colonial Williamsburg for a day.

We explored the market, took pictures of the horses pulling the carriages through town, and watched the weaver at work.

In and out of the crowd we wove from place to place.  My son kept trying to run ahead, but we’d draw him back in and tell him he had to “hold hands with one of the girls.”

So, he’d grip onto one sister’s palm.  Then another.  Trading back and forth.

Then I held his hand for a bit in one of the shops because–golly, there are a lot of fun things a three-year-old wants to touch and shouldn’t!  Glancing down, I saw him giving a little wave to  someone in the group of fellow visitors.

But we didn’t know anyone in the crowd.

So, a little confused, I followed my son’s gaze to see who he was connecting with.  That’s when I saw a man in an electronic  wheelchair just across from us return my son’s little wave with his own little nod of greeting.

As we moved from place to  place in the town that day,  I think we must have seen that same man with his family at least three different times and my son waved each time  to him.

It  was just the smallest thing.  An acknowledgement.  A little hello.

I don’t know why my three-year-old noticed this gentleman in particular or what encouraged him to make any sort of connection.  I  didn’t see him wave at another person the whole day.

But sometimes, I guess, you just know when someone needs a kind greeting, a friendly wave,  and a smile .

May we be noticers,  too.

May we pay attention to those around us.

May we be sensitive to a hurt heart,  a need,  or a bad day.

May we be “refreshers”–those who renew joy, renew strength, renew hope, and pour Jesus into the lives of others.


That’s one of Paul’s themes in his letter to Philemon.  He says:

 For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you (verse 7).

What was it about Philemon that blessed the hearts of the saints around him?

Paul describes him this way:

I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.[a]

Philemon loved Jesus.

He loved others.

He shared his faith.

Life can tangle us up in complications and busyness.  Our own needs scream for attention and our own hurts can entice us to draw inwards instead of reaching out.

We have so many reasons, so  many reasonable reasons, to hold back.

I’m an introvert.  Hospitality and mercy are some of my greatest weaknesses.  I have four kids and a crazy schedule.

But Philemon wasn’t refreshing the hearts of others with an international ministry or a multi-step program.  It wasn’t a full-time job or a massive undertaking.

What he was doing wasn’t complex or time-consuming.

It was so simple:  Love Jesus.  Love others.  Share your faith.

Make the phone call.  Write the note.  Bake the cookies.   Set a time to get together.  Listen well. Pray hard.  Send a text.

Show love.


Jon Bloom wrote over at Desiring God:

Oh the precious, priceless ministry of refreshment. And oh how desperately needed it is. All around us are weary brothers and sisters who are slogging it out in a spiritual war (Ephesians 6:12) on a battlefield of a futile world (Romans 8:20).

Here’s the beautiful promise of  God for those who choose to be “refreshers:”

“whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25b)

None of us can be “refreshers” all the time.  We need refreshing.

We need others to bless and encourage us.  To jump in with some help when we’re weary.

And we don’t need to be afraid or ashamed to send out an SOS when we’re the ones who need refreshing.

We all feel the weariness sometimes.  We’ve carried that weight of discouragement before, or sorrow, or worry and fear.

Paul knew  that when he needed help he could ask for it.

When Paul requested mercy for the runaway slave, Onesimus, Paul asks Philemon once again to:

 Refresh my heart in Christ (verse 29).

We can’t always be refreshers—sometimes we need to be refreshed.

And when we’re refreshed, we’ll grow stale unless we in turn refresh others.  We give and we receive; we love and are loved; we refresh and are refreshed.

Return, O My Soul, To Your Rest


My daughter and I settled  onto the bus for our overnight trip to New York City.

We each pulled out our books and book lights and enjoyed some reading time as we pulled away from the parking lot and headed out onto the road for our grand adventure.

About an hour into the trip, I pulled out my blanket and little travel pillow and asked my daughter to do the same.  We were, after all, supposed to be sleeping on this bus and we were certainly going to need that sleep since we were hitting the streets of New York City by 6 a.m.

Only, she hadn’t brought her pillow.  She’d left it back at the house.


So, I handed mine over (because I love her and I’m her mom) and tried to sleep without it.

Now, I do not sleep in moving vehicles, and this night the odds were particularly against me.

I was in a completely, wonderfully comfortable bus for daytime travel.   Nevertheless, I was still mostly upright, with highway noise for my soundtrack, surrounded by 50 people, and without a pillow.

We shuffled this way and that through the night.  None of us on the bus slept more than an hour or two , and even that was in fits and starts.

At 3:40 that morning, the bus lights flicked on to full strength and we pulled into the New Jersey rest stop where we were scheduled to start the day.  Everyone filed out to use the bathrooms, change our clothes, brush our teeth, and buy coffee (or tea!) from the 24-hour Starbucks.

From then on, it was go, go, go.  Drive around the city.  Eat breakfast at the diner.  Walk through Central Park.  Stroll through the Museum of Art.  Subway back to our bus for lunch and the ride to the hotel.  Quick showers and changes.  Back onto the bus for the ride to the Lincoln Center for a ballet performance.

We had the best time!

Finally, we settled back at the hotel around midnight after being awake for about 35 hours of the last 36 hours.

A bed never felt so good.  The pillows were luxury and the sheets were heaven.

Normally, I hate sleeping away from home and restlessly fidget all night long.

Not that night.  I slept the deep sleep of the truly exhausted.

That same weekend, I read this verse from the Psalmist:

Return, O my soul, to your rest;
    for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you (Psalm 116:7 ESV).

Return to rest.

Right there when I was pushed to the max physically, I needed to know that rest doesn’t entirely depend on circumstances.

Some seasons are stressful and full of huge crises or petty daily annoyances.  Life demands so much of us–sleepless nights while we rock the baby, or work the job, or care for the loved one, or nurse the sick, or more.

Our hearts can be tumbled into pits of anxiety with one phone call, one nasty email, one ridiculous Facebook post, one bank statement or unexpected bill.

Maybe we’re running at full-speed because of blessing and not burden.   We’re packing for the big move or working hard on the big project.

Rest can seem elusive until we remember the truth:

Our rest isn’t in peaceful circumstances or ideal conditions; our rest is in Jesus.

He doesn’t just bring us peace; He is our Peace.

Like the dove that Noah sent out from the ark, we can seek rest in so many places in the big wide world but never find it.  The dove searched throughout the earth for a dry place to set down and only found water, water, and more water.

The bird only found rest when it returned to Noah.

The same is true for us, as well.

Charles Spurgeon wrote:

Noah’s dove found no rest outside the ark, so she returned to it.  In a similar way, my soul has learned today, more fully than ever, that there is no satisfaction to be found in earthly things–only God can give rest to my spirit…they cannot fulfill the desires of my immortal spirit” (Morning and Evening, January 29th).

We may search and search, looking for rest and finding only stormy seas.

Ultimately, we truly find rest by returning not just to the ark, but to our Master.  We return to Jesus.

Like the dove,  we can’t face the night on our own, flapping our wings in the darkness until we’re exhausted.  On our own strength, we’ll drown.

When night looms, when we’re deeply tired, when we realize that nothing else satisfies, we stop trying so hard on our own and release control into His hands.  That is the rest our weary souls need—trusting Jesus because He is so trustworthy.

25 Bible Verses and a Prayer for the Thirsty Soul


  • Nehemiah 9:15 ESV
     You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them.
  • Psalm 23:1-2 ESV
    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
        He makes me lie down in green pastures.
    He leads me beside still waters.
  • Psalm 42:1-2 ESV
    As a deer pants for flowing streams,
        so pants my soul for you, O God.
    My soul thirsts for God,
        for the living God.
    When shall I come and appear before God?
  • Psalm 63:1 ESV
    O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
        my soul thirsts for you;
    my flesh faints for you,
        as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
  • Psalm 78:15-16 ESV
    He split rocks in the wilderness
        and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.
    16 He made streams come out of the rock
        and caused waters to flow down like rivers.
  • Psalm 105:41 ESV
    He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
        it flowed through the desert like a river.
    He split rocks in the wilderness
        and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.
    16 He made streams come out of the rock
        and caused waters to flow down like rivers.
  • Psalm 107:4-6 ESV
    Some wandered in desert wastes,
        finding no way to a city to dwell in;
    hungry and thirsty,
        their soul fainted within them.
    Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
        and he delivered them from their distress.
  • Psalm 114:8 ESV
    who turns the rock into a pool of water,
        the flint into a spring of water.
  • Psalm 143:6 ESV
    I stretch out my hands to you;
        my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
  • Isaiah 12:2-3 ESV
    Behold, God is my salvation;
        I will trust, and will not be afraid;
    for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
        and he has become my salvation.”
    3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
  • Isaiah 32:2 ESV
    Each will be like a hiding place from the wind,
        a shelter from the storm,
    like streams of water in a dry place,
        like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.
  • Isaiah 35:6-7 ESV
    then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
        and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
    For waters break forth in the wilderness,
        and streams in the desert;
    the burning sand shall become a pool,
        and the thirsty ground springs of water;
    in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
        the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
  • Isaiah 41:17-18 ESV
    When the poor and needy seek water,
        and there is none,
        and their tongue is parched with thirst,
    I the Lord will answer them;
        I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
    18 I will open rivers on the bare heights,
        and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
    I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
        and the dry land springs of water.
  • Isaiah 43:19 ESV
    Behold, I am doing a new thing;
        now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
    I will make a way in the wilderness
        and rivers in the desert.
  • Isaiah 48:21 ESV
    They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
        he made water flow for them from the rock;
        he split the rock and the water gushed out.
  • Isaiah 55:1 ESV
    Come, everyone who thirsts,
        come to the waters;
    and he who has no money,
        come, buy and eat!
    Come, buy wine and milk
        without money and without price.
  • Isaiah 58:11 ESV
    And the Lord will guide you continually
        and satisfy your desire in scorched places
        and make your bones strong;
    and you shall be like a watered garden,
        like a spring of water,
        whose waters do not fail.
  • Jeremiah 2:13 ESV
    for my people have committed two evils:
    they have forsaken me,
        the fountain of living waters,
    and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
        broken cisterns that can hold no water.
  • Zechariah 14:8-9 ESV
    On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them tothe eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter.
    And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will beone and his name one.
  • Matthew 5:6 ESV
    “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
  • John 4:7-14 ESV
    Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
  • John 6:35 ESV
    Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
  • John 7:38-39 ESV
    Whoever believes in me, as[a] the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
  • Revelation 7:16-17 ESV
    They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
        the sun shall not strike them,
        nor any scorching heat.
    17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
        and he will guide them to springs of living water,
    and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
  • Revelation 22:17 ESV
    The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.


12 Bible Verses and a Prayer for When You Need to be Refreshed


  • Psalm 19:7 NIV
    The law of the Lord is perfect,
        refreshing the soul.
    The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
        making wise the simple.
  • Psalm 23:1-3 NIV
    The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
        He makes me lie down in green pastures,
    he leads me beside quiet waters,
        he refreshes my soul.
    He guides me along the right paths
        for his name’s sake.
  • Psalm 68:9 NIV
    You gave abundant showers, O God;
        you refreshed your weary inheritance.
  • Proverbs 11:25 NIV
    A generous person will prosper;
        whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
  • Jeremiah 31:25 NIV
     I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
  • Acts 3:19 NIV
     Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
  • Romans 15:32 NIV
    so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.
  • 1 Corinthians 16:18 NIV
    For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.
  • 2 Corinthians 7:13 NIV
    By all this we are encouraged.In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you.jeremiah 31
  • 2 Timothy 1:16
    May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.
  • Philemon 1:7 NIV
    Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.
  • Philemon 1:20 NIV
     I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.


Nobody wants to drink lukewarm water in this house: One Word 2015

My daughter tells me her water is “soggy.”

And my other girl chimes in: “I don’t want this old water.  I need fresh water.”

Then she bops her head up and down for emphasis: “Really.  It needs to be FRESH.”

I pick up the cups of water I poured just two hours before and dump them into my plants.  At least foliage appreciates lukewarm refreshment.

Or, perhaps I’m feeling particularly savvy that day, and I pop in an ice cube before handing these daughters the same cups of water.

Either way, my youngest girl guzzles it down and lets out a satisfied “ahhhh” in gratitude.

It’s fresh water she wants.  Cold.  Newly poured.

Even if the water she has isn’t stagnant or stench-ridden, hot or unhealthy, it sat just a little too long in that Tinkerbell cup and now she needs new.

Normally, as a mom I protest a little.  Two hours is not enough time to de-freshen water, I tell her.  It’s not ice-cold, but it isn’t ‘soggy,’ or undrinkable.

It still prevents dehydration.jeremiah 31

But my soul takes this in because surely she’s discovered what I’m longing for.

For “Fresh.”

My Christian walk isn’t stagnant or rancid, but still I long for ‘new’ and ‘more.’  I don’t to walk out of 2015 the same way that I walked in.

Each year, I choose this One Word and a Scripture to meditate on all year long to focus my heart, mind, and life.

The first year, I chose “Breathe” (Psalm 62:2 MSG).

Then last year, I spent 12 months meditating on “Presence” (Exodus 33:14 NIV).

These were spiritually life-changing for me, not just a random New Year’s task that seems so important on January 1st but loses all meaning by January 31st and not just a cute catchphrase that is temporarily inspiring but ultimately meaningless.

So I prayed over this year’s focus and searched Scripture until I read it:

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25 NIV)


Already, I relax into the grace of this.

So often, New Year’s is a time of heaping burdens on our backs.

Resolutions.  Reading plans.  Prayer plans.  Devotional plans. Health plans.  Schedule plans. Clutter plans.  Relational plans.  Educational and job plans.

This is what we want to do, do, do this year.

Piled on top of that are the bricks we haul around of recrimination, regret and self-condemnation because of all the plans that failed last year and the year before that.

There are the projects we didn’t finish and the resolutions we let fall by the wayside.  There are the 15 pounds we were supposed to lose.  There is the study we started and never completed.

So, we carry “Failure” from one year onto the next and chain the new year before it’s even begun.

What if we started Fresh?

What if we let the past go and we eased into the new year with devotion and relationship with God instead of any agenda or program?

What if we take this in?

he leads me beside quiet waters,
   he refreshes my soul (Psalm 23:2-3 NIV).

He does the work.  He leads; we follow.  He offers us the cool water to drink and we guzzle it down and let it drench our parched soul.

The beauty in this promise is that as we pour out encouragement, blessing and generous helpings of grace to others, He will refresh us.

Proverbs 11:25 tells us that God looks after the generous.  He refreshes those who refresh others.

Not with leftovers or scraps or day-old water, either, but with the deeply satisfying draft of the Living Water only He can give.

I can try to fill up from the tap of the world or the tap of self-accomplishment or the tap of taking care of me, me, me.

But it will be ‘soggy’ and old, tepid and bitter.

It’s Jesus I need.  And not the Spiritual experiences I had ten years ago or five years ago or yesterday.

I need Jesus—Fresh—-now—-newly poured into my life day after solid day.

This year, I am praying that God will do this work:

Refresh me with His Word: (Psalm 19:7).

Refresh me with rest in His presence: (Psalm 23:2-3).

Refresh me through service: (Proverbs 11:25).

Refresh me through a pure heart (Acts 3:19).

Refresh me with His people (1 Corinthians 16:18).

It’s strength we need for the weary days and revival we need for the dead and broken within.  It’s a filling up so Christ is splashing over the tops of our lives so that we can pour out to others with generosity and grace.  It’s rest in His presence rather than perpetual motion, and it’s new, cold, Living Water we need from it’s only true Source.

Refresh us, Lord, we pray.



Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King