Word Alive! © 2021 Winter Series
You Can Begin Again!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 13 April, 2021
Max Lucado, “Begin Again” Lesson 12, (Chap. 12)
Devotional Time: “Begin Again” (pp. 93-98)
You Are Not Alone – We all need to feel protected and cared for in life. Inherent in every human, is the need to feel safe. The scriptures are filled with assurance from God, that protection and care will come to all who trust in Him. As capable as many of us are, there are some challenges we cannot overcome alone. The human tendency to solve all of our problems by ourselves, has proven to be detrimental in many instances. As people of faith, we have learned that to trust our instincts, absent of discernment from God, often can be counterproductive. The people of the Old Testament learned that when they obeyed God, they were never left without His help. The compelling speech King Hezekiah gave his people when they were faced by the enemy is a defense for the power of God to protect His people from their enemies (cf. 2 Chronicles 32:7-8, NLT). God is described as coming to the rescue of his people. In his devotional book, Begin Again, Max Lucado explains the significance of referring to God as “helper.” Lucado says: “The Greek word for helper [that’s used] is boethos, from boe, which means “a shout,” and theo, which means “to run.” When you need help, God runs with a shout, “I’m coming.” Our God comes quickly to our aid. Our trust in God gives us the confidence that He will always come to our rescue. We are never alone when our reliance is in God (cf. Jeremiah 17:5;7, NLT). What we see vividly in the Old Testament is a God who is actively involved in the affairs of His people. We can glean from the experiences of earlier times, that whatever our challenges are, God is present to help us. Max Lucado comments: “The job market is flat? True. But God is your helper. Your blood cell count is down? Difficult for sure, but the One who made you is with you. Is the world in fear of pandemics? Indeed it is. Still, the Almighty will never leave you or forsake you.” We do encounter difficult moments in life, but God protects us, and inevitably supplies our needs (cf. Psalm 84:11-12, NLT). It is possible for any of us to feel lonely, but God assures us we are never alone. In his book, Begin Again, Max Lucado recalls the story of a young boy who immigrated with his single mom and siblings from war-torn Liberia. The family settled in Philadelphia where he was bullied and tortured incessantly. Later, the boy was befriended by several NFL players, who vowed to protect him at all times. This is what our God does!
God Defends Us – Just as three NFL players vowed to protect Nadin Khoury, and one of them giving the young Liberian immigrant his personal phone number, we can only imagine how accessible God is to us when we need Him most. The writer of Hebrews assured the early Christian community that their trust should be in God, and not merely in tangible things. Some Christians had begun to depend on material resources, rather than on God. They were told that trusting in God would also relieve them of any fears they had of their persecutors (cf. Hebrews 13:5-6, NLT). Lucado says, “Not only does God desire that you have a chance to begin again, but he fights for you so you can and then remains your guardian throughout your journey.” The psalmist prays to God, and asks for direct aid in facing the enemy (cf. Psalm 35:1-2, NLT). After the exile, Nehemiah was aware that the builders who were restoring the walls of Jerusalem were besieged by the enemy. However, Nehemiah remembered that God was with their ancestors in times of battle, and he believed wherever the trumpet was sounded, God would come to the rescue of His people (cf. Nehemiah 4:19-20, NLT). The scripture is clear that God “will defend” His people. One of the misconceptions that some people have, is that they defend God in the face of the enemy. The truth is, God defends us! God equips us for the battles of life, and He defends our cause. On many occasions, God told His servants (Moses, Joshua, Jehoshaphat, etc.) “to remain still…” It was the obedience of God’s servants that led them in harm’s way, only for God to give them victory. The Christians in Ephesus were told to remain strong in the Lord and His mighty power.” They were to remain fully equipped in obedience to God, as He provided them victory (cf. Ephesians 6:10-13, NLT). This is why Paul reminds us, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4, NKJV).” We have power over all crises and challenges, because God defends and protects us!
What We Believe
You are not alone. God Is With You!
1. God has promised to protect all who serve Him!
2. We cannot fight for God. God fights for us!
2 Chronicles 32:7-8, NLT
“Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or of his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side. He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord on our side to help us and to fight our battles for us! Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people.”
Jeremiah 17:5;7, NLT
“This is what the Lord says:“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord… But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.”
Psalm 84:11-12, NLT
“For the Lord God is our sun and shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.”
Psalm 91:11-12, NLT
“For He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.”
Hebrews 13:5-6, NLT
“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you, I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”
Psalm 35:1-2, NLT
“O Lord, oppose those who oppose me. Fight those who fight against me. Put on your armor, and take up your shield. Prepare for battle, and come to my aid.”
Nehemiah 4:19-20, NLT
“Then I explained to the nobles and officials and all the people, “The work is very spread out and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. When you hear the blast of the trumpet, rush to wherever it is sounding. Then our God will fight for us!”
Ephesians 6:10-13, NLT
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities in the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.”