Word Alive! © 2021 Winter Series
You Can Begin Again!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 30 March, 2021
Max Lucado, “Begin Again” Lesson 10, (Chap. 10)
Devotional Time: “Begin Again” (pp. 77-85)
Remain Anchored In God – It is easy to lose hope, in this present age. The rapid changes that affect us in many personal ways, are perhaps no different than those changes that harmed people in earlier generations. All change occurs within its own period, and while the variables are different, the impact on human civilization is similar, if not the same. Solomon said there is purpose in the changes that occur in life; and, he suggested that such changes were predictable. Despite the changes in life that affect us in some way, Solomon concluded: “Yet, God has made everything beautiful for its own time…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11a, NLT). While Solomon championed God’s sovereignty, he acknowledged that hope often wanes with humans. Solomon added, “But even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” (cf. Ecclesiastes 3:11b). The sheer fact that we can’t understand the complexities of life, is reason to have hope. We might recall that the Greek New Testament word is elpis, which means “to have expectation.” The Christian faith is grounded in hope; we anticipate God’s work and presence in every situation or crisis. Paul enthusiastically told the first-century Christians that the believer’s hope is grounded in their souls (cf. Hebrews 6:19-20, NLT). The idea of the soul in the Biblical Greek is the psuche (ps00-khay); which is a rational, thinking person. The spirit that animates us (soul), also gives us consciousness of our Creator. The Apostle Paul says further, our hope is in Jesus Christ, who is the One who intercedes on our behalf (Hebrews 10:21-24, NLT). It is our consciousness of God the Creator, and His son, Jesus Christ, that is resonant in our souls. God gave us the spirit of life (breath) and the knowledge of His presence, when He formed us as living souls [persons]. God created us as living, thinking persons [nephesh], (Cf. Genesis 2:7, NLT). The scriptures portray humans as God’s created persons who inevitably will search for Him. Our soul-nature is ever yearning to receive explanations from God, especially in times of crises. The ancient Hebrews are told that if they diligently search for God, they will find Him (cf. Deuteronomy 4:29-30, NLT). It is the soul of a person that most yearns for God’s care and protection. Our hope is the anchor for the soul; for if we are sustained in our knowledge of God and His promises, we anticipate relief and change in the midst of any crisis!
Maintaining The Soul – God has created us to love Him with our total being. In the second iteration of the law and commandments, we are instructed to love God in His fullness with heart [mind], soul, and strength (cf. Deuteronomy 6:4-5, NLT). It is important that we also maintain the soul, for it is the central place of God’s presence. St. Augustine believed that the soul represented the “true person.” Many ancient theologians and thinkers equated the soul with the mind, because of the thinking, reasoning aspect of its nature. The soul can only be saved and maintained through wisdom (cf. Ecclesiastes 7:12-14, NLT). The inference is that the soul is immaterial, and does not have to depend on material things to sustain it. The hope we have must have its stability and comfort in the soul. In his devotional, Begin Again, Max Lucado says, “Your soul unites you to God. And your soul needs an anchor. Your soul is fragile. It feels the pain of death and knows the questions of disease. Your liver may suffer from the tumor, but your soul suffers from the questions. Hence, your soul needs an anchor, a hooking point that is sturdier than the storm.” Jesus valued the soul as the most important aspect of our total being. Gaining the material only with no regard for the soul, will cause us to lose our relationship with God (cf. Matthew 16:25-26, NLT). The condition of our soul affects our knowledge of and fellowship with God. In the Gospel of Luke, the wealthy young entrepreneur placed his ambitions above his relationship with God. God required his soul, and the material goods were of no value to him (cf. Luke 12:19-21, NKJV). Max Lucado says we’re all aware that even with faith, we will wonder how situations can be resolved; and when, circumstances can change. It’s critical, he believes, that we keep our hope anchored in the place where God meets us most intimately: the soul. Pastor Lucado says, “Everyone is anchored in something…Salty sailors would urge you to hook on to something hidden and solid. When the storm hits, trust no one but God.” Jesus said, reverently fear God, who alone protects us, and has power over anyone or thing that could harm us (cf. Matt. 12:28, NLT).
What We Believe
The soul is the part of us that unites us to God.
1. The soul creates our knowledge of God!
2. It is hope that anchors our soul!
Hebrews 6:19-20, NLT
“This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for out souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.”
Hebrews 10:21-24, NLT
“And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God's house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean and our bodies have been washed with pure water.”
Genesis 2:7, NLT
“Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man's nostrils and the man became a living person [soul, KJV].”
Deut. 4:29-30, NLT“But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for Him with all your heart and soul, you will find Him. In the distant future, when you are suffering all these things, you will finally return to the Lord your God and listen to what He tells you.”
Deut. 6:4-5, NLT
“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is Our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.”
Ecclesiastes 7:12-14, NLT“
Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life. Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what He has made crooked?Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life.”
Matthew 16:25-26, NLT
“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”
Luke 12:19-21, NKJV
“And I will say to my soul,“Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years: take your ease; eat, drink and be merry.” But God said to him,“Fool! This night your soul will be required of you, then whose will those things be which you have provided? So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Matthew 12:28, NLT
“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who