Word Alive! © 2021 Winter Series
You Can Begin Again!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 2 March, 2021
Max Lucado, “Begin Again” Lesson 6, (Chap. 6)
Devotional Time: “Begin Again” (pp. 39-49)
The Rock In A Weary Land – As we seek to journey to a new season in life, and to begin a new course, we could probably agree with pastor and author Max Lucado who says, “There is a weariness among us.” The present pandemic, along with a digital driven lifestyle with its demands on the urgent, is wearing people down. In his devotional book, Begin Again, Max Lucado describes our present situation. He says, “We are weary. Weary from relationships that don’t work or careers that don’t satisfy or bodies that refuse to heal. Weary from the many trips to the cemetery…Our shoulders slump. Our eyelids drop. We are tired. A tired people.” Long before Lucado and so many others made these observations, weariness has confronted people. The men and women who were faithful to God were not exempt from challenges that brought about despair and pain. The good news is that the distress we encounter in life is always temporary. There is a cure and a response to these anxious seasons. One of the most encouraging testimonies in the Scripture, is that of David after he escaped the tyranny of many of his enemies, and King Saul (cf. Psalm 18:2, NLT). The assurance of God’s presence and protection in difficult times, is in contrast to how David felt when he was wearied with trials. Then David said: “I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears (cf. Psalm 6:6, NLT).”David’s admission of being “worn out” is from the Hebrew word, yaga, which often is translated “weary.” The term means “to gasp, be exhausted; or to faint.” While any of us could, and have, become weary, God as our protector and safety is certain (cf. Psalm 59:9, NLT). In Judaism, the prophet Malachi encourages all who respect Yahweh and are obedient to His statutes, can expect the healing of the Messiah, and freedom from weariness and worry (cf. Malachi 4:2, NLT). Jesus, as Messiah, invites “all” who are weary to come to Him. In accepting this invitation, we will find understanding for the mind, and rest for the soul (cf. Matthew 11:28-29, NLT). Weariness in the Matthew passage, is described in the Greek New Testament by the word kopiao, which means “to feel fatigue.” It is often connected with “hard work.” Engaging in a new approach to life, requires a restful spirit; one that can only be found in the Lord. God is our strength and protection now, and in the fulfilling days ahead!
Learn to Appreciate The Gift, Whom God Is – In our entitlement driven age, too many people feel that they are owed everything. God is indeed generous in His gifts to us, but He has declared that He owes us nothing (cf. Job 41:11, NLT). Everything God gives us is a gift, and what He gives is motivated by His divine will. The gift of God’s son illustrates His love for us (cf. John 3:16, NLT). God’s great love is not in response to anything we have done to appease Him, but it is an attribute of His divine character (cf. I John 4:9-10, NLT). God has given us His son, but he also gives Himself to us. In the devotional, Begin Again, author and pastor Max Lucado surveys Job in the thick of his crisis. Job’s friends, although well intended, were not much help to him. Job’s friends had much to say about God, but they really didn’t say much that gave Job comfort. It was when God spoke to Job, that the suffering man became aware of God’s presence. Lucado emphasizes, as Scripture does, that God spoke to Job from out of a great wind. Lucado describes God’s visit in this way, “He speaks out of the storm into the storm, for that is where Job is. This is where God is best heard.” One of God’s gifts to us, is the gift of Himself, coming to where we are (cf. Job 40:6-7, NLT).As with Job, so it is with us. God is never far removed from our needs!The psalmist speaks of the omnipresence (nearness) of God. God is available to respond to our most urgent needs (cf. Psalm 34:18-19, NLT). God’s sovereignty over the universe places Him above us (cf. Psalm 103:9, NLT). His compassion keeps Him near us (Isaiah 66:1, NLT). The fact that we have a God who knows, protects, and cares for us, is the greatest gift we could ever need in this life. Coming to see God’s presence in our lives, is what gives us inner peace in the present, and hope for the seasons ahead. After Job’s ordeal, he told the Lord this: “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes (Job 42:5, NLT).” May we also have the gift of this experience. To hear God is to experience Him!
What We Believe
The gift of God, is the gift of Himself.
1. We cannot earn God’s gifts; they are freely given!
2. God is near us, to help us overcome and to begin again!
Psalm 18:2, NLT
“I love you Lord, you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock,in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.”
Psalm 59:9, NLT
“You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you,O God are my fortress.”
Jeremiah 6:16, NLT
“This is what the Lord says:“Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old,godly way. And walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, “No, that’s not the road we want!”
Malachi 4:2, NLT
“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness [Messiah] will rise with healing in His wings, and you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.”
Matthew 11:28-29, NLT
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Job 41:11, NLT
“Who has given me anything that I need to pay back? Everything under the heaven is mine.”
John 3:16, NLT
“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
I John 4:9-10, NLT
“God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
Job 40:6-7, NLT
“Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.”
Psalm 34:18-19 NLT
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.”
Psalm 103:19, NLT
The Lord has made the heavens His throne; from there He rules over everything.”
Isaiah 66:1a, NLT