Growing older, I've noticed something about myself. As we progress in age, many things change, including (but not limited to) sleeping and eating patterns, physical resistance, and our ability to endure cold temperatures. In my particular case, the one thing more bothersome than I ever would have thought is my skin's tendency to get dry and itchy, especially in the cold and dry winter months.
The Blessing of Lotion
I now have a deeper appreciation for lotion than ever before. For most of my life, I didn't use lotion because I didn't like the way it felt on my skin. Now that I am approaching sixty, skin moisturizing lotion has become my friend.
Our skin is not the only thing that can become dry. We all go through periods of "dryness" in our spiritual lives as well, those times in the dry desert when we feel empty, alone, and far from God. It is as if the oil of the Spirit has run dry, at least as far as our spiritual lives are concerned. During these times…
We feel as if our prayers are empty and bounce off the rafters.
We have no appetite for the Word of God, and don’t seem to understand it if — by force of will — we take time to read it.
We have no desire to worship, engage in Christian fellowship, or serve others in ministry.
These “dry winters” are when it can feel like we are dwelling in Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones.
How great it would be if there was a
"spiritual lotion" to restore and refresh our spirits?
There is Such a Lotion
The remedies are spiritual disciplines. They are the lotion to cure the dryness of our spiritual lives. It may sound counter-intuitive and even strange, but the reality is…
When you don’t feel like praying or believe your prayers are ineffective, the best thing you can do is pray.
When you have no desire to read the Word of God, but wish you did, the thing to do is read the Word of God.
When worship seems like an empty formality, that is the very time to engage in corporate and private worship.
When you have no desire to be in Christian community for fellowship or service, make sure you fellowship and serve with the community of faith.
Spiritual disciplines are perfectly named. To call them disciplines means we practice them even when it takes great discipline to do so, and they are spiritual in nature. If we have the discipline to practice them, spiritual disciplines can impact our spirits and act as the lotion to our dry spiritual lives.
While we may not love what we see in the mirror, most of us would never leave home without first checking our appearance to make sure everything was in order. Paul also instructed the Corinthians to “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves" (II Cor. 13:5).
The idea of making a joyful noise to the Lord is often associated with singing, but our "noises" don't always have to be audible. When we live a life pleasing to God, we truly begin living loud.
We all have personal struggles we cannot always understand or control, but God is not overwhelmed by our chaos. Where are you at in your walk with God?
Our neighbor’s house, spouse, servant or ox would be no temptation if we were truly and completely content in our circumstances and life situations. It is as though we could rephrase the tenth commandment by saying, “Be content.”
The deeper and broader we look, the more we can see the hand of God moving over the earth in power and authority. How do you see God at work in the world?
We all go through periods of "dryness" in our spiritual lives, those times in the dry desert when we feel empty, alone, and far from God. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, the remedy for spiritual dryness is quite simple.
Maybe even the worst of times aren't far from the best of times when we trust our unfailing God all of the time. Do you believe God is working all things together for your good?
Like sheep, we have gone astray, but we aren't just any sheep, we are the sheep of His pasture.
Billions of people are waiting to hear the Gospel, but, "If you don’t know, then you don’t know that you don’t know." Will you tell those who don't even realize they need the Good News of Christ?
Every day, we make significant investments of our time, resources, and energy. We may not be climbing Mount Everest, but we do constantly take risks. The question we must ask ourselves is: Is it worth it?
The “land between” is the place in life where God seems silent, even absent; but the resurrection teaches us that if all seems lost, God is still at work. Perhaps, this is even when He is doing His greatest work...
Two Sudanese refugees share the story of their conversion to faith in Jesus Christ after receiving "crates of food from the heavens." See how God was glorified as relief was offered to those in need in Sudan.