“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Encountering the God of “Re”, by Randall D. Kittle


Although it is now more than thirty years ago, I remember distinctly when the Leighton Ford crusade came to my home town of Rockford, Illinois. I arrived at the crusade with a very resistant heart. To put it bluntly, I did not want the Lord and had been running from Him. It was as if I had taken a “No Trespassing” sign and placed it on the territory of my heart. I told the Lord “Do not disturb! My heart is off limits. I don’t want you there.”

How joyful we should be that God does not treat us as we deserve or as we treat Him. Despite my resistance and rebellion toward God, His heart was ever toward me. As a friend of mine put it, the hounds of heaven were after me. It was not like the famous picture of Jesus knocking at the door, where He is timidly, gently wrapping. In my life the Lord was pounding. He had taken His holy battering ram and was hammering on my heart’s door, imploring “Let me into your life! Let me in; I want you! I desire you!” God pursued me and chased after me. Everywhere I turned, I saw faithful Christians whose lives were great testimonies. They showed the love of God and truly cared for others, and by their lives a fire for the Lord slowly started melting my icy heart.

At the crusade, God increased His pounding on my heart’s door until my heart started pounding with His. I ran down to the altar and surrendered my life to the Lord. When the Lord came into my heart, He showed me a picture of a big stamper. A large hand took the stamper and stamped
Accepted on my heart. Next, He stamped Adopted on my heart. And then He stamped Approved. That is the love of God. He takes you when you are broken and running from Him, and says “You are accepted in My love … you are adopted into My family … you are approved by Me!”

The Journey of Faith
The next week, as I was reading the book of John in my new The Way Bible my Mom had picked up for me, I felt like Christopher Columbus when he discovered America. It was as if I had been on a long voyage and finally made a great discovery — something new and altogether different. The cry of my heart was “I’ve found a vast expanse of something unexplored.” Some people told me that once you accept Jesus, well that’s it…you have arrived. But the Lord said “No, this is not the finish line. This is the starting line. You are just starting on the journey, the adventure with Me.” Faith is a journey … not a destination!

This is a picture we need to lay hold of — that walking with the Lord is like discovering a new, unchartered land. We are called to be explorers, to go forth and search out this vast, new territory. The good news is that since we are exploring the Lord Jesus Christ and His kingdom, we have a vast, never-ending, unfolding expanse to uncover. We are never going to discover it all. There will always be more. The bad news is that, as with any journey, it can be tiring.

A number of years ago, our family went on our first car trip. We loaded the kids up in our Ford Explorer and went to one of the most exciting spots you can imagine…Nebraska. We went to western Nebraska to a family reunion. Besides the reunion we saw a rodeo and went to the Buffalo Bill Museum. That wasn’t enough, so we drove through South Dakota stopping at Wind Cave, Mount Rushmore, the Bad Lands, Wall Drug, and Mitchell’s Corn Palace along the way. After passing through Minnesota, we stopped at the Wisconsin Dells on our way back home. Having spent that much time in the car and staying in different hotels night after night, when we got home, I felt like I needed a vacation. I was physically wiped out, fatigued and tired. Adventuring can be exhausting.

Yielding to the Rest Stops
The same thing can happen as we journey with God. As we explore new things, we can get so excited we push ourselves too hard. One reason so many believers become worn down and burned out is because they do not understand the importance of rest. If we constantly press on at breakneck speed, we will soon become fatigued and tired.

As we drove down the highway when I was a child, I loved to look at all the big trucks pulled over and resting at the rest areas. The truck drivers understood that even though they had important deliveries to make, resting, too, was an important part of their job.

How I wish Christians would learn this lesson. God wants us to stop at the “rest areas” as we journey along with Him.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Unfortunately, sometimes we act just like our children when they need a nap. We cry out “No, no, no! I don’t want to stop! I have things to do. I am on an adventure.” Some of us have gone forward exploring when God is back at the rest stop. We decide to push on ahead on our own. All of the sudden we realize “where in the world am I…and where is God?”

Isaiah 40:31 says
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” What happens to those who do not pause at the rest stops with God, who won’t wait upon the Lord? They will run and become weary. When they walk, they will faint.

“Prophetic Depression”
Even in the midst of a great and glorious ministry we can become discouraged and despondent if we fail to receive the “rest of the Lord.” When our spirits have not been refreshed nor our strength renewed we can easily fall into “prophetic depression” — a discouragement that follows triumph. After fearlessness and victory comes … depression?! The one who is used by the Lord to boldly overcome overwhelming circumstances is suddenly overwhelmed with discouragement and desires to “call it quits.” It happened to the prophets of old — Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah — and it still happens to those who walk in the prophetic gifts today.

One of the best examples of prophetic depression is Elijah. In a time when the prophets of God had been hunted down and killed, and false prophets of every kind were welcomed at the table of the king and queen, Elijah goes to Mount Carmel to confront the prophets of Baal. Elijah turns to Israel and says
“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). Israel stood there, and with a loud voice said…absolutely nothing. They pleaded the Fifth Amendment, “You can’t make us testify against ourselves,” and did not say a word.

Elijah turns to the prophets of Baal and says “let us find out whose god is the true god. Let us both prepare a sacrifice, and
‘The god who answers by fire — he is God’” (1 Kings 18:24). The prophets of Baal prepare their sacrifice, but despite their loud and desperate pleadings nothing happens. Elijah mocks them, saying literally “Perhaps your god is on the toilet!” Elijah then prepares his sacrifice. He cuts it up and piles on the wood. Then, to make sure all Israel knows it is God, he pours bucket after bucket of water over it. God accepts Elijah’s sacrifice by burning up the offering, the wood, and all the water. Suddenly all Israel says in unison “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” (1 Kings 18:39). Finally, Israel joins with Elijah and they executed all the prophets of Baal. God mightily used Elijah to remove the spiritual cancer from the land.

While Elijah was victorious over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, he was also overdue for a rest stop. He had won a great battle, but he was suffering from “spiritual battle-fatigue” … worn down and discouraged. Satan knows how to attack us when we are weak and weary. Having heard of what Elijah had done, Queen Jezebel vows to have him executed that very day. After overcoming the 450-to-1 odds on Mount Carmel and defeating the prophets of Baal, you would think Elijah would find this an easy challenge. But look how he responds.
“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life” (1 Kings 19:3). Elijah sends his servant away and then he “…went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors’” (1 Kings 19:4). On Mount Carmel we heard the voice of Elijah—the prophet of God challenging both his people and the false prophets. But here we hear the voice of Elijah—the tired man—as he bemoans “I have had enough. I quit. I am going to go into the desert and just sit under a tree until I die.”

Our Father’s Response
If my father heard me say these words, I would have gotten the famous “bootstrap speech.” I am sure most of us have heard the bootstrap speech at some time in our lives. “Come on son, pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Come on now, suck it up. You can do it.” The problem is none of us can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps … not physically nor figuratively.

The great news is our heavenly Father’s response is nothing like an earthly father. The heart of God toward Elijah was to refresh and restore. Father God interrupts Elijah’s one-man pity party by sending an angel to him. If I was his father, I, too, would have sent an angel. Only the angel I sent would have had a sword drawn and commanded “Get up and get going!” The angel sent from God comes and bakes a cake for him and brings him some water, and then says
“Get up and eat” (1 Kings 19:5). He then allows Elijah to go back to sleep. Again the angel comes back to Elijah, wakes him up and says “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you” (1 Kings 19:7).

I heard a message on the radio saying “Elijah missed the mark. So God said ‘I am replacing you. Get your house in order, because you’re fired.’” That is not the heart of Father God. God brings Elijah to Mount Horeb, speaks to him, and reveals Himself to Elijah. God then recommissions Elijah to finish the job He had given him by appointing his successors. And finally, God translates Elijah to be with Him. That is Elijah’s punishment, to do something that only two people in all of eternity are ever going to do, to be translated up to be with God. Some punishment!

But that is the heart of our God. The prophet becomes fatigued and depressed and runs away from what he was supposed to do, complains to God, and wants to die. And God’s response? “I am going to refresh you. I am going to reveal Myself to you. I am going to recommission you. Then I am going to bring you to be with Me, because I delight in you.”

The God of “Re”
God’s response to Elijah was to bring him into a fresh encounter with Himself. When we were lost in sin and running from God, He pursued us longing for us to have a spiritual encounter with Him. When we are weary and sinking in a sea of despondency His response is the same. Like Adam, we tend to run from God when we fail or even when we are fatigued. But our heavenly Father wants us to run to Him…to have a fresh encounter with the God who restores and refreshes — an encounter with the God of “Re.”

So many of the things our God delights to do for us begin with that splendid little two-letter prefix, “Re.” He reconciles. He restores. He refines. He renews. He remakes lives. He redeems lives. He revives lives. I would encourage you to get out your concordance sometime and look up those words and study the character of our God, the God of “Re.”

He is the infinite Creator of the universe, and if there is anything more enjoyable than creating, it is recreating. He is the great Editor. Our God is the great Potter. He looks at us, His chosen clay vessels, and says “Oh, there’s a little blemish. Let’s make that over again.” He loves to recreate lives. It gives Him great pleasure. When we rebel … He reconciles. When we cannot get beyond rehashing our lives … He brings His fire and refines them. When we are stuck in the land of regrets (seeing all the “could’ves” and “should’ves”) … He restores. When the enemy robs … He redeems. That is the character of our God.

If you have grown tired or weary, the best thing that could happen to you is to have a fresh encounter with God. That is certain to bring spiritual renewal. God knows we need rest and refilling, because we are not only earthen vessels…we are leaky vessels. D. L. Moody put it this way
“we must constantly seek renewal of the filling of the Holy Spirit, for we are very leaky vessels. We need to be kept under the fountain all the time. Only then can we be kept full.” You do not even have to be empty — fatigued, tired, and exhausted — in order to be re-filled. You can be right in the middle of great and wonderful things; practically full. God wants us filled up so we can be spilled out on others…and then refilled again. This is the cycle of spiritual life.

God wants us to have a renewal, each and every one of us. Renewal is not a place. I have been to Toronto, and it was wonderful. You can experience the renewing heart of God there, but renewal is not place, and renewal is not a special service.
Renewal = God + Your Heart … that is the equation for renewal. When your heart is open, and you invite God, there is renewal. You see, renewal did not happen in 1994, it has always been happening … for our God is a God of renewal.

While I was praying recently, the Lord gave me a vision. In this vision I saw a large parchment that God was reaching down from heaven. Suddenly it unfurled, and written on it was a promise from God. “I will refresh you in your weariness. I will renew your mind. I will remake your life. I will refine your heart. I will restore what you have lost. I will make a personal revival in your life.”

That is what God wants for us. He wants to lift us out of the sea of spiritual depression. He doesn’t want us to just come to a renewal service and have an experience. He wants us to encounter the God who renews — the God of “Re!” God wants a continual revival going on in the Church … and
we are the Church! Like the manna in the wilderness, God wants to give it to us fresh each day. He wants to come and refresh you if you are weary. He wants to renew your mind if it needs the renewing of the Lord. He wants to remake your life if it is broken and shattered. He wants to refine your heart if there are things that need to be removed. He wants to restore the things you have lost. He wants a personal revival to be in your life. That is His promise. It is a big promise, but that is OK, because we have a big God.

Lord, thank you for loving us so much, that You have sent renewal to the earth by pouring out your Spirit. You have caused those who have been dry, dusty seeds to spring back to life by the power of your love. I ask that we would receive from You the rest and refreshing we so desperately need. May we accept the challenge and the invitation to be with you each day — to walk with You, to be touched by You, and to touch Your heart. Amen.

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