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A Fresh Start

  • A Fresh Start

    A Fresh Start - New Year 2017 from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

    Today I want to talk about making a fresh start in your life. So many times in my life I have thought that once again, I wrecked His plan for my life. Like a dog that was ashamed of what they had done, I would sulk off with my tail between my legs and give up on ever being anything.

    Days, weeks, months would sometimes go by while I felt that I was unworthy to even pray. Then when I finally would get to missing the relationship that I once had with Him and tentatively pray, I would find that He was not mad at me to begin with. The shame and condemnation that I felt was not from Him at all, but I was listening to it as if it were.

    While contemplating on this pattern, I can plainly see that I am not the first one to have experienced it. Genesis chapter 3 records that God used to come down and walk in the garden of eden during the cool of the day. Adam and Eve welcomed His presence, but after they disobeyed and ate the forbidden fruit, they hid themselves from His presence.

    (Genesis 3:9–11 NKJV) “Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked?”

    There is so much that we can learn from the book of Genesis. This is the first time that fear is mentioned in the Bible, and it came right after their deliberate disobedience. Fear, shame, withdrawal from His presence, wanting to hide, all go hand in hand. Adam and Eve experienced all of this, and there was no way back for them. The devil was quick to lead them into a trap, and they fell for it.

    See a trap, is designed to not look like a trap. I grew up in the country and setting traps was a part of my child hood. We had fish traps, bird traps, rat traps, steel traps and more. One thing they all had in common, was bait to lure them in. The prey was always so focused on the bait that they were oblivious to the fact that they were walking into a trap, until it was too late.

    Once Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit of the tree, then the fear, the shame, and the hiding began. They did not realize that it was a trap until it was too late. Eve said in Genesis 3:13 “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

    Eve was deceived. She was promised one thing, but then got something else. She thought that it would be something good, but it turned out to be something bad. The serpent had tricked them with a worthless trade.

    We have a lot in common with Adam and Eve, and we behave the same way. We disappoint God and then want to sulk off and hide from Him. But He keeps calling us like He did with Adam: “Where are You?” Eventually, we wake up and come to our senses.

    After Adam and Eve fell, God made a way to redeem us, to restore the relationship that had been broken.

    In Israel, when a person become destitute, or starving, they could sell themselves as a slave, or an indentured servant. While living as a slave, you had no choice in what you would do. You did whatever job the master assigned to you. Some worked in the field, some cooked, some were prostitutes, but they were all were slaves doing what the master told them.

    Leviticus 25:48 states that after they were sold, one of their brothers may redeem them. So if a family member had enough resources, they could buy them back, and pay for their freedom.

    The book of Ruth teaches us about the kinsmen-redeemer. Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi were poor and broken after their husbands had passed away. They returned to the land of Israel with nothing and Ruth gleaned in the fields to get enough grain for them to eat so that they would not starve.

    Gleaning meant that after the harvesters had passed by and collected all of the grain in the field, that the poor people would come behind them and pick up what had fallen to the ground, or had been missed. That was the welfare system of the time. Ruth and Naomi were living from that.

    A wealthy relative named Boaz noticed Ruth working in his fields, took a liking to her, and redeemed her and Naomi. He married Ruth and they had a son named Obed, who was the father of Jesse, the father of King David. That is the book of Ruth in a nutshell. When Ruth was destitute and helpless, a wealthy relative stepped into help. That is what Jesus did for us.

    Where Adam and Eve fell and had no way back, God made a way. He sent His only begotten Son Jesus to fix what had been broken.

    Paul wrote in Galatians 4:4 “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

    “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

    So what does this mean for us today? Simply that we have a choice.

    Where Adam and Eve fell and stayed there without a choice, we don’t have to. Jesus has paid the price, bridged the gap, redeemed us and restored us to the Father. We don’t have to be ashamed, afraid, or hide anymore.

    The things that we did while we were slaves can now be put behind us. We were only doing what we were told by the slave master.

    Now we are free. We are no longer a slave to sin or an indentured servant, but a part of God’s family, an heir to His possessions.

    In Luke 15:11 Jesus told a parable about the prodigal son. A man had two sons and the youngest wanted his inheritance early, before his Dad had even died. He couldn’t wait to be free of his father’s house and out on his own. As soon as he got the money, he left home and blew it all on prostitutes and riotous living.

    Then hard times came. He was flat broke, and when the money was gone, so were his friends. He got a job feeding pigs and was so hungry that their food looked tasty. Eventually he came to his senses and said “Hey, wait a minute. The servants in my father’s house have plenty to eat. I will go and be a servant there. I can no longer be his son, but I will be his servant.”

    So he pulled himself together and headed back home to be a servant, but the loving father looked out of the door and saw him coming down the road. He ran out to meet him, threw his arms around him, dressed him in the best clothes and threw a feast to celebrate having his son back. He was so happy to have his son with him again. The sinful son thought that he would be a servant, but the father said: “Not so! You are family.”

    Jesus told a parable in Luke 15:4: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”

    Repentance, what a beautiful word that is so underutilized in the church today. Repentance means to change your mind, to turn away from sin, to tell God that you are sorry. That is what the prodigal son in the parable did, he came to his senses, he changed his mind, and he returned to the father.

    One of the most anointed women that I have ever seen minister was a former prostitute and drug addict. When she first became saved, the ladies at church, and well, the men as well shunned her. So she began reaching out to her peers on the street and led some of them to the Lord. The street ministry grew and became powerfully anointed and the whole ministry team was made up of ex-drug addicts and ex-prostitutes who had been set free.

    Then the church welcomed her. Sylvia and I saw them minister in Fort Mill South Carolina and it was incredibly powerful. Demons came screaming out of people all around us while she was ministering and singing.

    See what we think is a wrecked life, is an opportunity for God. He can turn you around and make your life count. It is not too late. Where Adam and Eve had no choice, we do. We can break free of the chains, we can return to the Father, we have hope.

    Isaiah 1:18 NKJV tells us: “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.”

    God will wash our past away and make our darkness as white as snow. The things that we did while under the slave master no longer count. Jesus has redeemed us and we now have a choice.

    If you have never accepted Jesus, then you should. If you have sulked away and hide from His presence, He is calling you back. The past no longer matters and the Father wants you to come back to Him before it is too late.

    This is a prayer of repentance and if you want to get right with Jesus and make a fresh start, then pray it with me:

    Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name.

    Amen.


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3 comments
  • 1
John Smith
John Smith

Are you going back to "What Time Is It?" next week?

just curious...

January 2, 2017
  • 1
Dion Todd
Dion Todd

Yes, I plan to try and wrap up the "What time is it?" series this coming Sunday. The message will probably be about an hour long and a fast moving look through history. :)

January 2, 2017
  • 1
Gina Blakey
Gina Blakey

Just watched this message...it was so very good, true and encouraging. Thank you for sharing. It's been awhile since I've had an opportunity to be on your website and I've truly missed it. God bless y'all for your faithfulness. 

January 17, 2017