This article will cover the second part of chapter eight of Mark Atteberry’s book, “Walking with God on the Road You Never Wanted to Travel.”  The title of this chapter is, “Enjoy Every Oasis.”  The premise of this chapter is that no matter how difficult the road you are on may seem, there will still be many moments when griefs and sorrows, worries and anxieties will be suspended for a moment and we can experience again joy and hope that brings refreshment to our souls.

I have already summarized the first two of four sources that Atteberry says can help provide spiritual refreshment for us.  You can read about that by clicking here.  The last two sources are ones that all of us should look to, namely Refreshing Scriptures and a Refreshing Savior.  There are many ways in which these can be expanded, and Atteberry provides some good stories and illustrations of people who are at the “end of their rope” (i.e. spiritually destitute) and who find Scripture that speaks to them, and a Savior who cares about them.

Both of these examples are critically important, seeing as we would like all people to turn to God and to Scripture to find the Truth and be made spiritually whole.  But I want to take Atteberry’s ideas and apply them to fellow Christians, those who have given their lives to the Lord, but for some reason have found themselves on a hard-road journey and who also need this kind of spiritual refreshment.

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It is my hope that Christians in general do not view Scripture (the Bible) as simply the source book for preacher’s messages nor as just an evangelistic tool used to present the Gospel to unbelievers in order to “get them saved”.  This kind of view can easily result in Christians owning a Bible, but never reading the Bible on a regular basis.  Sadly enough though, there are many “Family Bibles” which are merely house ornaments, or place holders on book shelves.

In sharp contrast to this, my view of the Bible and its ability to be a source for spiritual refreshment rests upon the idea that the Bible is our Guidebook for Life, and is meant to be opened and read and reflected upon on a regular, if not daily basis.  Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:16,”All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”

I believe it is important for my fellow brothers and sister in the Lord to realize and accept that difficult times and dark days are a part of life.  But if we have been in the habit of reading God’s Word, and allowing it to soak in to the deeper parts of our being, then when these troubled times come our way, we have a pool of Scriptural knowledge to draw upon and to apply to our life.  Often, it is in these very times that we come to see the Truth of God’s Word come alive for us in a fresh and very personal way.

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Let me now turn my attention to Atteberry’s last point, that Jesus Christ is the very best source we can tap into to find our spiritual refreshment.  It is amazing, and almost shameful, to realize that for many Christians who are going through difficult periods in their lives, that often the last person they turn to for help and encouragement is the Lord Jesus Christ.  Shouldn’t He be the first Person on our “Emergency Contact List”?

And yet so many of us today get so frustrated and flustered and tied up in knots over the events and circumstances of our lives.  In fact, we allow ourselves to be held hostage to our circumstances, our personalities, and our old nature.  When we do this, we take Christ off the throne of our hearts and we put ourselves there instead.  We must reverse this, remember who Jesus is and what He has done for us, and let Him be Lord again in our lives.

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Now contrary to popular belief, when we truly give our lives over to Christ and let Him be Lord that we are most free.  I know this sounds contradictory, but it is through submission to Him that we gain our freedom.  To understand this, we must realize two aspects of our freedom:  there are certain things that we are “freed from”, and similarly there are certain things that we are “freed to”.  Let me explain.

When Jesus died on the Cross and we gave our lives to Christ, there were things in the Past, in the Present and in the Future that Jesus freed us from.  From the time of Adam until now, there has been the inherited nature of sin, and the consequent penalty for sin that we could do nothing about ourselves.  In the Present, as much as we would like to not commit sinful acts, in our own strength we still do that.  And without Christ, we would face the fear of death and eternal punishment.  But Christ saved us from all that.

When Jesus died to pay for our sins and we accepted Him by faith, then the old nature was done away with and we became new persons in Christ.  By the power of his Holy Spirit within, we have found we can live a life of righteousness.  And we can look forward to everlasting life with God and an eternal reward for those who serve their Lord well.  That is what Jesus freed us to.

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And what is my point here?  Namely this: when we who are Christians find ourselves in the midst of difficulties and the trials of life, then we must more than ever before turn our focus upon Christ, who has saved us from so much that is evil and saved us towards all that is good.  And if we can keep our eyes on this “Bigger Picture”, then we can ride through these storms of life so much better.

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