Thursday, June 12, 2008


God uses people to refresh other people. He so loves this kind of ministry that he moved the prophet Malachi to speak of it as a most-needed work in the last days. Malachi described how, in his day, God’s people built each other up through one-on-one edification: “They that feared the Lord spoke often one to another” (Malachi 3:16).

When did this happen, exactly? Malachi’s words came during a time of rampant ungodliness, when the “devourer” had destroyed much fruit in the land. God’s people had grown weary and started to doubt that walking with the Lord was worth it. They thought, “We’re told it pays to serve the Lord, obey his Word and carry his burdens. But as we look around at the proud and the compromisers, they’re the ones who seem happy. They’re pursuing prosperity, living carelessly, enjoying life to the fullest.”

The Holy Spirit began to move in Israel, and soon the fear of the Lord came upon a God-hungry people. Suddenly everyone in Israel, young and old, became one-on-one missionaries. By the Spirit’s prompting, people opened up to one another, edifying each other and building up and comforting those around them.

I’m convinced Malachi’s word about this ministry is a mirror image of the present day. He has given us a picture of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days, as God’s people stop gossiping and complaining and instead minister refreshing. It’s happening by phone, by letter, by e-mail, and face to face. And God is so pleased with this ministry, we’re told he writes everything down. Every kind word spoken, every call made, every letter written, every effort to comfort the downcast is recorded in a “book of remembrance.” And the Bible says each of us whose deeds are written down will be precious to him: “They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels” (Malachi 3:17).

Be a Titus to someone who’s downcast in spirit. Pray to have the spirit of Onesiphorus, who sought out the hurting to bring them to healing. Think of it: You’ve been given all the power of heaven to refresh a hurting believer, someone who needs the consolation that God has given uniquely to you. Yes, there are people who need you and the Lord intends your past consolations to bring refreshing to them. Call that someone today and say, “Brother, sister, I want to pray for and encourage you. I’ve got a good word for you.”