Word Alive! © 2021 Winter Series
You Can Begin Again!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 26 Jan., 2021
Max Lucado, “Begin Again” Lesson 1, (Chap. 1)
Devotional Time: “Begin Again” (pp. 1-5)
A Trustworthy God – Many of the fears and anxieties we encounter in life, can be traced to a lack of trust. When faced with multiple and often complex challenges, it’s difficult to discern whom we can trust. Many voices offer advice, but we’re prone to question how trustworthy is the counsel that has been shared. This is especially true when we’re trying to find a path that leads us beyond the crises we’ve encountered. The question often faced is, “Can I begin again, when my life has been disrupted by forces beyond my control?” This is an honest and transparent question that deserves a truthful answer. The Scriptures are replete with examples of how we can be assured that our crises are not dead ends. Whatever we experience in life, we can begin again! This message rings clearly, when we dig deeper into God’s eternal Word. In this series, along with our study outline, it’s recommended that as a devotional resource we read Max Lucado’s book, Begin Again: Your Hope and Renewal Start Today (Thomas Nelson, 2021). This book has some practical and meaningful insights that can help us think more clearly about the renewal that is offered to us through God’s plan. As humans we’re wired to put our trust in the source that we believe cares about our safety and well-being. Our Lord, depicted as Shepherd, provides us with an appropriate place to learn about God’s care for our most pressing needs (cf. Psalm 23:1-3, NLT). In the Hebrew, the scriptures emphasize that our needs will never be “insufficient” or “lacking,” because the Lord is the One who “protects and cares for us.” This is the confidence we have in the Lord, as Shepherd (Yahweh ra ah). Our renewal is assured because God as Shepherd “restores” our complete being. The imagery in Psalm 23:3, is that of a shepherd who finds an incapacitated sheep (immobile on it’s back). The shepherd turns the sheep over, massages its muscles and joints; and the sheep’s strength and life are restored. The scriptures describe David also as a caring shepherd who competently leads his flock (cf. Psalm 78:71-72, NLT). Our human nature requires a God who can lead us as we seek to navigate a temporal existence (cf. I Chronicles 29:15, NLT). It is our help in a trustworthy God, that gives us hope for today and tomorrow. God watches over us, and knows our every footstep (cf. Psalm 124:1-2: 5; 7-8, NLT). He leads us through and beyond all trials!
Your Path is Ahead – One of the definitions for path is “a way worn by footsteps.” (Cf. Webster New World Dictionary, 2003). Our current day roads and streets all began as a path, that was developed as a result of many footsteps. People in earlier times were confident in journeys they made, because they felt safe walking on a path where many others had done so previously. Anxiety in earlier times, and now, is likely to occur when there’s uncertainty about where an unfamiliar path will lead. This was the apprehension Thomas had, when Jesus spoke of going to a new place, where the disciples would eventually follow. Jesus assured Thomas that the way presently, and ahead, would be led by Him (cf. John 14:6-7, NLT). Thomas, one of the Twelve, should have known that Jesus provides a path and life of fulfillment and security (cf. John 10:9-11, NLT). The Lord would never mislead us. He will “show us which path to take” (cf. Proverbs 3:5-8, NLT). To get through and beyond where we are, we need to have trust in Someone who is familiar with us, and where we need to be. In his devotional, Begin Again, author and pastor Max Lucado says: “You need someone who knows the way out. Someone you can trust…You need someone to look you in the face and say, “This isn’t the end. Don’t give up. You can begin again. There is a better place than this. And I’ll lead you there.” When we turn to God, our plans and actions will succeed, according to His great plan (cf. Proverbs 16:3-4a, NLT). Even our struggles can serve God’s purpose for restoration. When we surrender our anxieties, fears, and doubts to God, He will not allow us to be permanently harmed (cf. Proverbs 55:22, NLT). It is better for us to divest ourselves of anything that compromises our relationship with God. The path God always has for u is better than a detrimental path (cf. Mark 9:43-44, NLT). God is aware of “every detail” of our lives. God cares about us even when life’s disruptions cause us to stumble (cf. Psalm 37:23-24, NLT). In Psalm 23:3b, the Hebrew word ma’gal is translated “a track,” or “a crossing-place.” To begin anew after troubled times, we should have the confidence to know that God will be with us along our path and at the crossroads. The path God directs us to is always ahead!
What We Believe
Our new beginnings, always start with the Lord.
1. Our trust in God, is the security for our present and future!
2. We can trust God with every detail of our lives!
Psalm 23:1-3, NLT
“The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows;He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews [restores]my strength [soul]. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.”
Psalm 78:71-72, NLT
“He took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd of Jacob's descendants – God’s own people, Israel. He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skilled hands.”
I Chronicles 29:15, NLT
We are here for only a moment,visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.”
Psalm 121:2, 5; 7-8: NLT“
I look up to the mountains –does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps me from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keep swatch over you as you command go, both now and forever.”
John 14:6-7, NLT
“No, we don’t know Lord.”Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going,so how can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
John 10:9-11, NLT
“Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them rich and satisfying life.”
Proverbs 3:5-8, NLT
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do,and He will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.”
Proverbs 16:3-4a, NLT
“Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. The Lord has made everything for His own-purposes…”
Psalm 55:22, NLT
“Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”
Psalm 37:23-24, NLT“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their