Word Alive! © 2021 Winter Series
You Can Begin Again!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 1 June, 2021
Max Lucado, “Begin Again” Lesson 18, (Chap. 18)
Devotional Time: “Begin Again” (pp. 131-135)
Your Future Is Worth Believing In- One of the temptations we all face is to judge our future by the present situations we find ourselves in. When the Apostle Paul was on board a ship caught in a terrible storm as they were headed to Rome for trial, the passengers immediately panicked. They cried out with certainty and shrill horror that they would perish. It was Paul who told them that unless they remained on the ship, they would perish. The safety of that crew was remaining in the storm and on the boat (cf. Acts 27:31-32, NLT). The present circumstances we find ourselves in is but the prelude to a better future. We should not judge our current circumstance, yielding to doubts and fears about the future. The Apostle Paul told the Christians at Corinth that although life is imperfect, and often uncertain; a day of clarity and completeness is assured for every believer (cf. I Corinthians 13:12, NLT). Our patience is necessary; for what is ahead of us, is better than what we face presently (cf. Ecclesiastes 7:8, NLT). In his devotional Begin Again, Max Lucado challenges readers on the tendency to be too judgmental of their situations, without waiting to see the full picture. He says, “Good judgement requires a broad picture…it’s true in evaluating your life. One failure doesn’t make a person a failure; one achievement doesn’t make a person a success.” Most often, Lucado says, we must learn to be patient. When we’re going through a difficult moment in life, we must come to realize that season is but one page in your complete life’s book. God always takes us to better days. In what is believed to be the oldest of the psalms, Moses prays: “Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil [bad] years with good (cf, Psalm 100:15, NLT).” The scriptures reveal a God who restores our losses, and who helps us understand the lessons of our trials. This could not be more evident than in the experience of Job. The latter years of Job gave him a new future and a new hope (cf. Job 42:12a, NLT). One of the most important lessons Job learned through his misery and ordeal was that God is omnipotent, and cannot be controlled by the sons and daughters of His creation. He loves us and knows what’s best for us. Job said, “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you (cf. Job 42:2, NLT).” With God the future is worth believing. He will restore all the things we think we’ve lost.
Seeing With A Clearer View – It is necessary that we have a clearer view if we’re going to begin again. Any season of challenge can take a toll on our emotions, physical health, and spiritual outlook. The Old Testament Hebrew word, corazan, that’s often translated vision, means “seeing things more clearly.” In the immediate moments of danger and challenge, the way before us may seem blurred and uncertain. We can be confident in knowing that the Lord always provides a more definite and clearer view of life. The prophet Elisha taught his servant a lesson in praying to God for a better outcome of a dire situation (cf. 2 Kings 6:15-17, NLT). Nearly nine hundred years after the witness of Elisha’s life of prayer, Paul encouraged the early Christians to “be patient in trouble and keep on praying (cf. Romans 12:12, NLT). Max Lucado shared the wisdom of the woodcutter’s legend. He said, “Life’s mishaps and horrors are only a page out of a grand book. We must be slow about drawing conclusions. We must reserve judgment on life’s storms until we know the whole story.” Jesus placed saliva on the eyes of a visually impaired man who sought to have his sight restored. When Jesus asked the man if he could see, the man replied that he could. However, what he saw was not clear. His visual acuity was off and was no help to him. Jesus touched the man’s eyes the second time, and he then “saw clearly.” His acuity was intact (cf. Mark 8:24-25, NLT)! Notice there is no mentioning of a lack of faith. Things just didn’t work the first time. Our failure to receive the things we need, when we want them, is not always because of a lack of faith. The timing is God’s not ours (cf. Psalm 31:15a, NLT – “My future is in your hands…” The prophet Habakkuk emphasized the need to “wait patiently” for the vision to be restored (cf. Habakkuk 2:3, NLT). God has His own sense of timing! To begin again is to have a clearer perspective on life. The Apostle John told the second-generation Christians that their future would, with certainty, cause them to be more like Christ. This was the promise of things becoming better in this life and beyond this world (cf. I John 3:2, NLT)! John also says, “For the world offers a craving for physical pleasure, craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away…But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever (I John 2:16-17a, b NLT).”
What We Believe
Every trial is but a page in life’s entire book!
1. The purpose of a storm is understood when it’s over!
2. God gives us a clearer vision of life as we go along!
I Corinthians 13:12, NLT
“Now we see things imperfectly,like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, just as God now knows me completely.”
Ecclesiastes 7:8, NLT
“Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.”
Job 42:10-12a, NLT
“When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! Then all his brothers and sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the Lord had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring. So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning…”
Psalm 126:4-5, NLT
“Restore our fortunes, Lord,as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.”
2 Kings 6:15-17, NLT
“When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside,there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh sir,what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha.“Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the you man's eyes, and when he looked up,he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.”
Romans 12:12, NLT
“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.”
Mark 8:24-25, NLT
“The [blind] man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.” Then Jesus placed his hands on the man's eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly.”
Habakkuk 2:3, NLT
“Then the Lord said to me,“Write my answer plainly on tablets so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.”
I John 3:2, NLT
“Dear friends, we are already God's children, but He has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is.”