Word Alive! © 2021 Summer Series
You Can Begin Again!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 15 June, 2021
Max Lucado, “Begin Again” Lesson 20
Devotional Time: “Begin Again” (pp. 143-146)
Listening To The Inner Song- Deep within each of us there is a song, whose lyrics speak of a better time. Often, we do not hear the song of hope, because there are so many strange and competing noises that clamor for our attention. When a group of young men were sent to exile in Babylon, they maintained their national and faith identity despite being challenged by the influence of other cultural and religious practices. Daniel, in particular, opened his windows toward Jerusalem and, despite being warned against breaching a law, fervently prayed to his God (cf. Daniel 6:10, NLT). Amid the chaos and uncertainty of the times, we must all stop to hear the voice of God within us (cf. Psalm 46:10, NLT). The Hebrew word used in this verse is raphah (raw-faw), which has several basic meanings: “to cease;” to slacken [‘let go’]; or, “to stay’ [remain]; “be still.” God invites us to come close enough to Him, such that we can lay bare our souls before Him. The yearning with us, often is the voice of God speaking to our deepest needs. It is human to become beset with all that’s going on around us. When we feel detained by or restrained from what we’re accustomed to, we become preoccupied with our needs. The human tendency is to look back to the recent past, when we felt more comfortable. The psalmist is transparent as he speaks of his desire to return to the Temple. Exile robbed him of what was so much a part of his life (cf. Psalm 42:4-6a;8, NLT). After sharing his sense of loss, the faith of the psalmist is renewed when he realizes that it is God who will restore Him. The scriptures describe experiences where even people of faith are not immune from a breaking heart. Job had questioned God’s fairness, but he did so in the crucible of more pain than most people encounter in life. The young visitor of Job, Elihu, rightfully told Job he was wrong to accuse God of not listening to him (cf. Job 35:13-14, NLT). Job later apologized for his premature assessment of God’s sovereignty (cf. Job 42: 1-6, NLT). Like Job, many of us must come to the truth of our failure to listen. A variant translation of Psalm 46:10, could read, ‘Take time and listen to me, and come to understand that your God hears your cries and knows your needs.’ The song, inner voice of God, assures us that as we begin again whatever awaits us is known by God (cf. I Corinthians 2:9. NLT). Like the psalmist, we can say of God, “each night I sing His songs.” Our hearts do cry for God!
Our Way Forward is In God – The inner voice of the soul will always cause us to seek answers to life’s demanding issues. The part of God that resonates within us, is what causes us to long for something better. We instinctively look for new seasons where things will change. The wisdom writer instructs us that God has “planted eternity in the human heart.” Even so, the psalmist warns, people still search for more (cf. Ecclesiastes 3:11, NLT). The incessant cries within our souls, are often hidden by the immediate needs that clamor for our attention. What we are certain of, is that God hears us, and is the One leading us onward! None of us should be consumed with looking back, but we should be patient knowing that what God has ahead for us is better (cf. Ecclesiastes 7:8;10, NLT). The twin-crisis in King Hezekiah’s life brought about two prospective attacks. One attack was an illness that was sure to take his life. The other was the invasion of enemy nations, who were poised to destroy his people and nation. When the prophet brought disconcerting news of Hezekiah’s imminent demise, he could have given up. The NLT translators note that unlike King Ahab “who went to bed in a royal pout,” Hezekiah prayed to God, who extended his life some fifteen years (cf. 2 Kings 20:1b;2-3;5-6, NLT). Hezekiah’s refusal to accept death, was likely attributed to his belief that God had something better for him. In his devotional, Begin Again, Max Lucado says: “But occasionally we hear his song. And occasionally we let the song whisper to us that there is something more. There must be something more. As long as we hear the song, we are comforted. As long as we are discontent, we will search. As long as we know that there is a far-off country, we will have hope.” Each of us must search deep within to discover what is God’s purpose for us. What is God’s plan for me as I go forward, is the question each of us should ask? The early Christians were assured, and so are we, that God has resourced each person with a gift that’s helpful in serving each other (cf. I Peter 4:10, NLT). The mid-sized night-jar bird of North America is known by its great voice, but although the bird can be heard clearly within its range, it is seldom seen, because it is camouflaged. Its feathers blend with the environment. Although we may seem to blend in our earthly environment, God hears our voices and He always knows where we are!
What We Believe
In each of us dwells the longing for God!
1. God sees our pain and trials, but He does not forget us!
2. It is through God’s grace and guidance, that we move forward!
Psalm 46:10, NLT “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation, I will be honored throughout the world.”
Psalm 42:4-6a;8, NLT
“My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be. I walked among the crowds of worshipers,leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God! But each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life.”
Job 35:13-14, NIV
“But it is wrong to say God doesn’t listen, to say the almighty isn’t concerned. You say you can’t see Him, but He will bring justice if you will only wait.”
I Corinthians 2:9, NLT
“That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,“No eye has seen, no ear has heard. And no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Ecclesiastes 3:11, NLT
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so,people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”
Ecclesiastes 7:8;10, NLT
“Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride…Don’t long for“the good old days.” This is not wise.”
2 Kings 20:1b;2-3;5-6 NLT
“This is what the Lord says: Set your affair in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness.”When Hezekiah heard this,he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember. O Lord, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.” Then he broke down and wept bitterly. Go back to Hezekiah, the leader of my people. Tell him, “This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you and three days from now you will bet out of bed and go to the Temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life,and I will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my own honor and for the sake of my servant David.” The Isaiah said, “Make an ointment from figs.” So Hezekiah’s servants spread the ointment over the boil and Hezekiah recovered!”
I Peter 4:10, NLT
“God has given each of you a gift from His great variety. Use them well to serve one another.”