Word Alive! © 2021 Summer Series
You Can Begin Again!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 8 June, 2021
Max Lucado, “Begin Again” Lesson 18, (Chap. 19)
Devotional Time: “Begin Again” (pp. 137-141)
Remember What The Lord Has Done- Many of us are living portraits of God’s compassion, grace and mercy. Whatever we attain in life, can be attributed to God’s goodness. The Apostle Paul said when all that separates us from God is removed, we can see more of Him in our lives. As we reflect the glory of God, we also become more like His Son, Jesus, and we are changed into the image of Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:18, NLT). The scriptures provide us with many examples of how the lives of people were changed once they encountered the Lord. In each experience, someone’s life was forever changed. There was usually a spiritual awakening, in addition the physical healing. This was evident in the visually impaired man, who attributed his miraculous healing to Jesus, and who rebuked the criticism of the religious leaders (cf. John 9:28-33, NLT). Unlike this man, there are some people who receive blessings, but refrain from showing any gratitude for the improvement in their lives. This was evident when Jesus healed the 10 lepers, but only one return to express his gratitude. The nine, perhaps, appreciated the gift, but rejected the giver (cf. Luke 17:11-17, NLT). Luke, who in both of his books (Luke-Acts) is always certain to capture the plight of the marginalized in that day (women; non-Israelites; persons ostracized because of health issues; the poor, etc.). Consider the conversation between Jesus and the healed man: “He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him for what He had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give God glory except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” The leprosy-free man “remembered” the source of his healing. Jesus commended him to go and “begin again.” He could now live a life of grace and freedom. Reading the scriptures and meditating upon the life of Jesus, helps us understand how he so miraculously responded to people’s needs. Yet, in his devotional, Begin Again, Max Lucado says: “The purpose of these stories is not [merely] to tell us what Jesus ‘did’. Their purpose is to tell us what Jesus ‘does.” The faith and national character of ancient Israel became one. What God had done, is celebrated by the people (cf. Psalm 126:3, NIV). The present should be lived in remembrance of and appreciation for what God is doing (cf. Psalm 118:23-24, NIV).
Remember What The Lord Has Done, Part 2 – In one of several celebratory psalms, the psalmist praises God, and vows to “never forget” what God has done for Him. He provides a litany of blessings he has received from God (cf. Psalm 103:2-6, NLT). Moses warns the Israelites and successive generations, not to suppress their acknowledgment of God for what He has done for them (cf. Deuteronomy 8:14-18, NLT). The Israelites were told that the
“tough times” were periods of testing, to condition the nation for its journey forward. We should thank God for bringing us through trials and troubles. As difficult as these have been, they have strengthened our faith and drawn us closer to God. David said of the Lord, “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees (Psalm 119:71, NLT).” The psalmist was transparent about how his illness reshaped his spiritual life. Max Lucado advises us to share our narrative where we can, because someone can be helped the way we were. We can’t, nor should we attempt to, influence everyone. God has called us to help someone. Lucado says: “What matters is that you never forget what life was like before you began again… We need to share our story... not with everyone but with someone.” The Apostle Paul’s story before he began anew with Christ was complex, and at times reprehensible. Yet, Paul shared his story to draw attention to Christ who had transformed his life (cf. I Corinthians 15:9-10, NLT). We can rejoice in knowing that God works through us by His grace! The changes and transformations that occur in our lives are all packaged with a label called grace. Max Lucado shares this wonderful comment about why we should chronicle the things God has done for us even as we look to past events in the scriptures. He says: “Please remember, the goal of these stories is not to help us look back with amazement but forward with faith. The God who spoke still speaks. The God who forgave still forgives. The God who came still comes. he comes into our world. He comes into your world. He comes to do what you can’t. he come to help you begin again – to have a second chance in becoming more and more like him as you are changed into his glorious image.”
What We Believe
What the enemy would turn into disgrace, God turns into grace!
1. The purpose of the Biblical narratives is to tell us what Jesus does!
2. We need to know our life-story before and after we begin again!
2 Corinthians 3:18, NLT
“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.”
John 9:28-33, NLT
“Then they cursed him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but we don’t even know where this man comes from.” “Why that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t even know where this man comes from? We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but He is ready to hear those who worship Him and do His will. Ever since the world began no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. If this man were not from God, he couldn’t have done.
Psalm 126:3, NIV
“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”
Psalm 118:23-24, NIV
“For the Lord has done this,and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 103:2-6, NLT
“Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me. He forgives my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagles.” The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.”
Deuteronomy 8:14-18, NLT“Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. Do not forget that He led you you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant He confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.”
I Corinthians 15:9-10, NLT
“For I am the least of all the Apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church. But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out His special favor on me - and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I