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August 12 – Times of refreshing

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. – Acts 3:19

Scripture reading: Nehemiah 8:1-12

The world today does not have joy, nor is it feasting. There is much sorrow and sadness. Even in the church, we may lack lustre in our joy and feasting. Perhaps we have lost some of the joy of our deliverance from sin in Christ.

In our reading from Nehemiah, the people of Israel have returned from exile. God had punished them for their disobedience to Him. Now times of refreshing have come. Ezra the priest read from the book of the law, the Scriptures “from morning till midday, before the men and women and those who could understand.” The Levites and others explained the Scriptures and helped them to understand. And “all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.” The Holy Spirit worked repentance in their hearts. With repentance for sin came times of refreshment. They were commanded not to mourn or weep, but to eat and drink. “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (v.10). And with joy, they feasted!

To the Jews in Acts, Peter preached Jesus and His resurrection. He called them to repent and be converted, that their sins may be blotted out. The purpose is “that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…” (Acts 3:19). But times of refreshing are also the result!

Have times of refreshing come upon you? Is Jesus the joy of your salvation? How are you expressing your joy? What are the signs of feasting in your life?

Suggestions for prayer

If you are far away from Christ, pray that times of refreshing may come. Pray that you may grow and increase in the joy of your salvation.

Rev. Tony Zekveld currently serves as missionary-pastor in the Hope Congregation in East Brampton, Ontario, sent by Covenant Christian Church (URCNA) of Wyoming, Ontario. Rev. Zekveld and his wife, Arley-Ann, have five children and, so far, eight grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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