How many here today, would like to have a fresh start? A fresh start in their marriage or family, a fresh start in their finances, a fresh start in their profession or business, or just a fresh start in life?
For many of us here, as well as you who have tuned in, have made many missteps and experienced many mishaps along the journey to find fulfillment in every area I mention.
Those setbacks and failures have caused much heart ach and pain, guilt and iniquity that burdens the soul, quenches the passion, and delays our dreams and destiny. And deep within the recesses of our mind which elicits an inner desire within our soul to redo, emend, or rebuild all over again just to right the wrong gnaws at us until an opportunity is afforded to heal that which hinders our progress, and cleans that which mars our potential.
Therefore, we wait and we wait prying and crying, crying and praying relentlessly for a divine opportunity to have a fresh start in that which we mishandled or took advantage of.
Why do we repetitiously pray the same prayer with moaning or groaning of the soul, because we realize humanistically starting over is not easy. For it takes much invested time and expended energy in rebuilding, mending, and recreating an atmosphere which would be conducive to usher change that we often capitulate to the challenges it presents when we see no change taken place in our circumference. Our white flag of surrender is an indication of our drained human efforts.
Therefore, our prayers, our tears, and our petitions we offer up is an indication and an admission that we all need desperately divine intervention to give us strength, courage, wisdom, power, faith and joy to right the wrong and overcome the challenges we face.
Our prayers, our tears, and our petitions comes out of a great need to experience a positive change within our circumference of existence so we won’t remain captive to past pain, disappointment, and self-condemnation. For these negative burdensome weights aborts our true purpose, compromises our destiny, and detours our future.
However, I’m here to encourage you, those who allowed past pain, disappointment, and every unfavorable occurrence to stymie your growth, compromise your worth and destiny, and forsake your purpose of existence, that God loves you and is willing to deliver you from your plight.
For He is merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin for all those who would acknowledge their responsibility within their predicament and confess their sin and accept Him to govern their life to achieve fulfillment of purpose and abundance of life.
For I declare, God is present with you even at this hour, in the midst of your pain and predicament. Though your life is unfolding the drama of dread, regret, distress, and loneliness due to sin, misfortune, ignorance or willful disobedience to wise counsel, God is saying, “I love you, and though you’ve been broken, bruised, buked, and scorned, you are significant and I want you to have a fresh start in life. I want to do something new, powerful, and purposeful in your life, starting now. For this is the hour were I will separate you from that which held you captive. And you will receive power and wisdom to overcome that which overtook you.”
Aren’t you glad that God loves you so much, despite the failures, the mistakes, the shortcomings, the self-hatred and self impose abuse you put yourself through or experienced due to the complexities, the challenges, and the unexpected events that clouded your judgment and your life, that He still desires to do something new in your life?
If you are glad about what He is saying to you today say, “Amen!”
Aren’t you glad that God loves you so profoundly and unconditionally that He desire to give you a fresh start, a place were you can begin again in your life, leaving the pain, the failure, and the abuse behind to receive the joy of living for your future?
If you are glad about it say, “Amen again.”
Those of you who do not understand why we are shouting “Amen” and giving God His do, look again in our text, for Isaiah 43:18. The Lord is saying through the mouth of the prophet, “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.”
Arrest your attention to these words which our written in this text for you and me. Simply it is saying, forget about what has happened before--meaning yesterday, last week, last month, last year, or even ten years ago: for the failure, the mishap, the turning aside, the misunderstanding, and the contumacious gesture of wise counsel are yesterdays news. Today is a new day.
For God is saying in our text, “Do not sulk or meditate about it, but leave it in the past, for it is over. You cannot change it. It is over. You cannot go back and redo it nor rewrite it. The books closed on it. Instead, look at the new things I am going to do in you and for you at this moment.
For you suffered to long regretting your mistakes and failures: in that relationship, in that marriage, with those children, on that job, with your finance, and etc…etc….and etc. And, since I heard your cry and pitied your groan of change through your confession, and furthermore since I was touched by the feelings of all your infirmities, your pain, aggravation, and worry… I’m going to extend my virtue of healing, of power, and love, and do a new thing in you.”
Now, why can’t everybody give Him a praise and thank Him for what He is about to do for you at this moment, within this year so that you can fulfill your divine purpose and that other can glorify Him who made it possible for you.
Yes, thank Him: for He is acquainted with your grief and sorrow. He is acquainted with your private pain and agony. He is acquainted with all of your perplexities and problems: and He is about to change it and do a new thing in you.
For Jesus said in St. John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, kill, and to destroy: but I am come that thou might have life, and that thou might have it more abundantly.”
He is coming to you today, knocking on the doors of your heart offering a new start in life, a life of fulfillment, a life of abundance, a life of power, a life of joy, and a life of freedom.
These words, “I am come that thou might have life, and that thou might have it more abundantly,” are a proverbial way of insisting that belief in Him as the Son of God is the only way of being “saved” from sin, sickness, and shame. It is the only way that you can be delivered from that burdened of regret, guilt, and pain of self-loathing.
For He is willing now to offer you this opportunity, for God is far more interested in our future than He is in our past. Some may think that God is stuck on their past. That all He wants to do is remind them of the things that they have done wrong. “But let every man be a liar, and God be true.” He is more interested in your future than He is with your past.
You may ask why…
Well, the future is where your going to spend the rest of your life. The past is over. You got through it with some bumps and bruises. And, that is the key – you got through it. Though you emotionally deal with the residual of its effect, it is over: it is in the past.
It is only the work of the devil manipulating your senses and aggravating your soul by causing you to stay focus on the past. For His intentions are to keep you bond. For he does not want you to have a fresh start in life and pursue the more abundant life, which is offered in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, you must start realizing your “present” with the help of Jesus, and prepare your self for your “future.” For God says, “Forget about your past. Forget about the former things. Don’t think about it. Look at the new thing I’m going to do. I’m preparing a way out of your wilderness: and it is Jesus”
Turn to some one and say, “Thank God for Jesus!”
For He is the Author of Eternal Salvation, the Light of the Morning, the Restorer of our soul, the Dayspring from on High, the Strength to the poor, the Great Physician, the Finisher of our faith, the Lifter of our head, the Word of life, The Bread of life, and the Gift of God.
Touch two people and say, “Thank God for Jesus!”
For Jesus is your fresh start. For Jesus is the way in the wilderness. For Jesus is the river in your dry desert place. No need to lay there encumbered, disgruntled, and crushed at the banks of Jordan, casting a wishful eye: for this is your moment, this is your season – just seize it.
Touch two people and say, “This is your season, now seize it!”
Getting to our text, Isaiah prophetically speaks to Israel concerning what God will do for them if they “Put Him in remembrance.”
For Israel made many mistakes and they found themselves in captivity for their sins and rebellion against God. However, God wanted to give hope and encouragement to His people. He wanted them to know that even though they were being punished they were not being forsaken.
Tell somebody, “God has not forsaken you.”
Though you failed Him time after time, He has not forsaken you. Though you doubted and disappointed Him, He has not forsaken you. For I see His hands of mercy giving you another opportunity to start afresh.
This is what God wanted Israel to realize, that He did not forsake them. He just wanted them to understand that the punishment that they were experiencing, the guilt, sorrow, and pain was for their repentance and not for their ending.
Touch your neighbor and say, “the pain you’re suffering psychologically, emotionally, and physically is not the end of you.”
Israel no doubt was discouraged because they thought this was the end of them. They had gone to far, they had sinned and rebelled against God to the point that He would no longer be their God. Maybe they thought God would not deliver them again, they thought to themselves, it’s over, this is it.
Their soul resigned to hopelessness. They thought what God did for them at the Read Sea; He would no longer do again.
They thought how He provided protection and provision in the wilderness: He would no longer meet their present need again. They could only remember the former things, but they could not see their future. They thought God permanently turned His back on them. However, God remembered His covenant with Abraham, and told his prophet Isaiah to tell them to wash their face, left up their bowed heads, for I am going to do a new thing in them.”
Maybe that is where you are today! You feel that you have made so many mistakes, as mentioned, and you have failed God so many times, and you failed your loved ones as well: and now God nor those who you disappointed over and over again does not want anything to do with you. You feel and believe that you have no future, your dreams our diminished and destiny denied.
However, I’m here by the unction of the Holy Spirit and the assurance of God’s Word that the good news today, at this moment is, “ It’s not over.”
Touch somebody and say, “It’s not over.”
For God has a plan for your life – and He is about to do something new in you.
Regardless of what kind of failure you had in the past. You may have had a financial failure, or maybe a relational failure, a failure in your marriage. You may have had a moral failure. You may have really blown it and you may have made some decisions you are so ashamed of and hope nobody ever finds out about.
However, regardless of the failure you’ve had in your life, here’s how you start over.
For one, stop making excuses.
If I want a fresh start in life, you have to stop making excuses for your failures. You have to stop blaming other people. You have to stop seeing yourself as the victim of circumstance.
Other people can hurt us, other people can harm us, and other people can scar us. However, the only person that can ruin your life is you. Nobody can ruin your life without your permission. You have a choice and you can choose how you’re going to respond to those hurts. The Bible says that the starting point is to just be honest and accept responsibility for your part in the problem.
Proverbs 28:13 declares, “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confess and forsakes them he gets another chance.”
He gets a fresh start. This proverb implies that the starting point to starting over is to be honest and face up to your part of the problem in which you find ourselves in.
It is hard to admit when we are wrong. We do not like to admit, “ I mad a mistake, I overlooked that flaw, and I blew it. ” However, God says, “ That if we admit the mistake, if we admit our failures, and if we admit our sin, then we get another chance to rebuild, restore, restart in that area of your life.
Second, take Inventory.
You need to take an inventory of your life. That means you need to evaluate all your experiences. You need to look at what you have left after the failure. You need to take an inventory of your life’s experiences and learn from them.
Galatians 3:4 "You have experienced many things. Were all those experiences wasted? I hope not."
Learn from your mistakes. Failure can be your friend or your foe. Only you can determine if failure will be your friend or foe by the way you react to it. You can choose to learn from it or choose to repeat it. If you learn from it then it can be your friend. However, if you don’t learn from it is your foe.
There are four kinds of experiences that God uses to shape our lives. One, He uses personal experiences. The family that you grew up in, the people you relate to. God can use your personal experience with your husband or your wife. He uses personal experiences to shape you.
Second, He uses vocational and educational experiences to shape you.
Third, He uses spiritual experiences to shape you, like coming to church.
And finally, He uses painful experiences to shape you. All your experiences can be beneficial to your future. And only through Christ Jesus you can turn those negative experiences to powerful statements what God can do for those who seek His Him for abundant living.
The next step in getting a fresh start is an act in faith. You have to launch out into new territory. The Bible says that the key to changing anything is faith. If you want to change your circumstance, it takes faith. If you want to change your personality, it takes faith. If you want to change anything in your life, you have to have some faith.
Touch your neighbor and say, “Its all about faith!”
Jesus says this in Matthew 9. “According to your faith it will be done to you.” That is a very simple and powerful statement. “According to your faith it will be done to you.” That means we tend to get out of life what we expect. “According to your faith it will be done to you."
What are you expecting in life? Are things going to be better or worse? Are they going to be the same? If you act in faith then you will do something positive to ensure that you do not repeat the same mistakes over.
The faith that I am talking about is an affirmative faith that takes positive action coupled with the help of God to change your life through Jesus Christ, who became the propitiation for our sins.
Acts 3:1-5 “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;”
“Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.”
This man asked for something and expected to get it, but in reality, he got more than he expected. The point that I want to make is this lame man acted in faith and was greatly rewarded. Many times we ask for something and expect to get nothing and we get exactly what we expected, nothing.
In order to start acting in faith for a fresh start, you have to first stop feeling sorry for yourself. Get up from the corner of self-petty. Stop crying “Poor me! I’m such a victim. Life is unfair.” Of course, life is unfair! Whoever said it was fair? God never said that. This is a world filled with sin and degradation, and because of that, life is unfair. However, you have to go on with life anyway through the power of God’s Spirit to pursue your ultimate purpose of existence.
Through faith in Him, you can make it. Even through hell and high water, with faith you can make it. Just believe by faith in God’s wonderful mercy and grace that He will give you the strength to make it.
So, stop rehearsing the past, regretting the past, and get on with the present and the future by faith. For the more time we spend regretting our past, the more of our future is wasted. The more time you spend thinking, "I wish that hadn’t happened! I wish I could change that. If only I could go back, reverse the clock and redo history," and you’re rehearsing and regretting, you’ll not only make yourself miserable right now, you’re setting yourself up for more of the same thing in the future.
What we need to do is learn from the past, act in faith for the future and look to God for guidance, strength, and wisdom: and stop worrying about what others say or think.
Finally, to have a fresh start, we must trust and depend totally on God.
Depend on Him. For we have already proven that we can’t depend on our own ability to succeed. That is why we have failed.
Some folk just don’t get it. They stumble and fall and then they get up and say, “I’ll just try harder!” It is like you go up to a wall and bang your head against it and the wall does not fall down. You try it again and Bang! Again, you keep doing it thinking, “Maybe it will fall over this time.”
That is the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting different results.
If we keep doing the same thing then we will keep getting the same result. We cannot change who we are, only God can do that. I am not speaking about the outward man but the inner man. The real person is the hidden person of the heart. Success in life is not trying harder, but living smarter: giving God control of our life.
Zechariah 4:6 declares, “You will not succeed by your own strength or power but by My Spirit, says the Lord.”
When someone becomes a Christian, they become a brand new person inside. They are not the same anymore. A new life has begun!” God specializes in new beginnings. Jesus Christ has the power to do that. It is called being born again, the chance to start over.
God says, “I don’t want you to turn over a new leaf. I’m going to give you a whole new life.”
Will you have a fresh start in life? Will you have a new beginning? It is your choice. How can I have a fresh start? I can have a fresh start by: stop making excuses, by taking inventory of my life, by acting in faith, and finally, by trusting Jesus every step of the way.
James Rowe wrote, “Don’t you know that Jesus knows all your care, all your thorn-paths, all your woes, and your despair? Every time the tempter calls, every time the world enthralls, all your troubles, all your woes, Jesus knows.
“Don’t you know that Jesus bends over you? More than all your earthly friends, He is true; all the while, you humbly plea Jesus knows your every need. Every sob and tear that flows, Jesus knows.
“Don’t you know He whispers still, ‘O come home?’ Won’t you yield unto His will, cease to roam? Heed His loving voice today, have your burden rolled away. Sweet compassion still He shows, For He knows.”
And He is affording you this moment to have a fresh start in abundant living.