Refresh & Restore — November 25, 2021


If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:1-4

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.[1]

Philippians 4:8-9

Christmas to Calvary (Advent Readings through Luke's Gospel) — December 4 Refresh & Restore | A JustKeithHarris.com Podcast

Christmas is a time when we are able to remember hope, peace, joy,  and salvation — to focus on the One who is the brings those things to  us. We want to give you the opportunity to look at the whole Story of  Jesus – not just the divine swaddled baby in the manger, but the young  boy who taught the teachers in the temple, the man who served rather  than being served, and the Savior who died and rose again “in accordance  with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 ESV). There are twenty-four  chapters in Luke’s gospel, and, between December 1 and Christmas Eve, we  have time to look at the full account of Jesus’ life – and thereby hope  for ours as well. This reading guide is an opportunity to spend time reading God’s Word, singing His praises, and meditating on the Gift – Jesus Christ. You can access the reading guide here, free of charge: https://justkeithharris.com/2021/11/24/christmas-to-calvary-reading-guide/
  1. Christmas to Calvary (Advent Readings through Luke's Gospel) — December 4
  2. Christmas to Calvary (Advent Readings through Luke's Gospel) — December 3
  3. Christmas to Calvary (Advent Readings through Luke's Gospel) — December 2
  4. Christmas to Calvary (Advent Readings through Luke's Gospel) — December 1
  5. Reclaiming Meditation — Episode 3 (Thanksgiving)

Happy Thanksgiving, Sojourner!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! It is so nice to have a day when people take the effort to focus on what they are thankful for instead of allowing themselves to look at things that cause stress or distress in our lives. What is interesting to me, especially as an adult (and one who must fight against jaded negativity), is that all of the things that cause trouble do not disappear, yet the forced focus on what one is thankful for gives a reprieve from all of the normal ills.

To a certain extent, that is what Biblical meditation is supposed to do. It is not a form of escapism where we ignore the ills of society. It is a show of trust in focusing on Him who is sovereign, focusing on the Savior. It is not us ignoring our problems but followers of Christ choosing His ways and His words over ignorance and submission to our troubles.

Another reason I love Thanksgiving is the food. There are dishes and desserts that I only get to eat at holidays. Some of these are just because of their difficulty to make and expense. Holidays justify both of these as labors of love. The primary reason is that many holiday foods, at least the ones I am hoping for as I type this, do not belong in our regular diets (and I’ll definitely need a regular diet by January). This brings to mind Don Whitney’s thoughts on Bible intake from Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life:

“There simply is no healthy Christian life apart from a diet of the milk and meat of Scripture. The reasons for this are obvious. In the Bible God tells us about Himself, and especially about Jesus Christ, the incarnation of God. The Bible unfolds the Law of God to us and shows us how we’ve all broken it. There we learn how Christ died as a sinless, willing Substitute for breakers of God’s Law and how we must repent and believe in Him to be right with God. In the Bible we learn the ways and will of the Lord. We find in Scripture how to live in a way that is pleasing to God as well as best and most fulfilling for ourselves. None of this eternally essential information can be found anywhere else except the Bible. Therefore if we would know God and be Godly, we must know the Word of God—intimately.”[2]

So, pies are tasty, but pies minus needed nutrition will kill me. The reasons for this are obvious, and there is no substitute for my soul, nothing that will or can satisfy the new heart Christ gave me, than the Word of God regularly.

Thomas Watson, a Puritan pastor, put it like this: “The reason we come away so cold from reading the Word is, because we do not warm ourselves at the fire of meditation.”[3] It is my hope that the verses today – all of which center around being thankful for God, specifically His name – will warm you, fill you with His Spirit, and leave you thankful for Him above all else and to Him for everything else.


10 Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.[4]

1 Chronicles 29:10-13

I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.

Psalm 7:17

With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;
I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.
For he has delivered me from every trouble,
and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

Psalm 54:6-7

We give thanks to you, O God;
we give thanks, for your name is near.
We recount your wondrous deeds.

Psalm 75:1

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

       “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:31-39

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Revelation 21:1-8

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

Hebrews 1:1-4

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:4-8 –

His Name is Jesus!

He is God!

He is Savior!

He is Lord.

And He is alive!

Hallelujah, and amen!


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Col 3:1–4 & Php 4:8–9.

[2] Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1991), 28.

[3] Thomas Watson, “How We May Read the Scriptures with Most Spiritual Profit” (1674).

[4] ESV, 1 Ch 29:10–13.

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