Summary: In a time of New Year’s resolutions and promises, which often fail, there is a new day approaching - a day to experience "Starting Fresh" through the power of God!
GIVE HIM ALL YOU’VE GOT!
Any number of us here today would have resolved for 2005 to GIVE HIM (the Lord Jesus Christ) ALL WE’VE GOT! Resolutions were made. Maybe a Bible verse was adopted as the theme for the year. We may have resolved to get more in touch with God and serve more intentionally. But then, day seven of January 2005 crept in and the devotional intent of every-day-unbroken-devotional-time fell away after missing day six; faithful church attendance never happened any more than last year and defeat set in. The resolution to mend broken relationships and heal old wounds never happened and so 2005 has been another year of strained relationships and broken promises.
Don’t give in to despair! “Starting Fresh” is an opportunity today, this first day of 2006, to wipe the slate clean! We can begin again! We can resolve, once more, to change those bad habits and that wasteful focus and replace them with new priorities and behaviours.
I think the means to success in any meaningful resolution is to first understand the root of that desire and the source of its accomplishment. For example, my resolution to lose weight (there’s that ugly six letter word) can never be achieved by continuing to consume chocolate and never having an exercise plan. When I understand metabolism, fat content and inches versus pounds, I may actually lose more inches than weight but still achieve a healthy body! “Starting
Fresh” therefore is not only an effort to recommit to valued priorities but going deeper to understanding how to get there.
The challenge to all of us today for 2006 is to GIVE HIM ALL YOU’VE GOT! That challenge begins here and now, with “Starting Fresh”. If we will give God all we’ve got, we must dig deeper than surface promises and resolutions that only survive in proportion to the power of the human will. If we are to succeed in resolutions and commitments we must begin by recognizing that they are founded and rooted in a person – that person is Jesus Christ!
To GIVE HIM ALL YOU’VE GOT, there are three things that we need to latch onto, three things that we must grasp. These are critical to “Starting Fresh” and staying alive.
First, you must realise
1. The LORD is Your Hope
If we will achieve anything of significant and lasting value, it begins with knowing God. (Verses 14-15) (SLIDE)
NLT of verse 14: "The LORD your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, says…"
The opening phrase is an important one. It is a reminder that if we are to start fresh; if we are to overcome the Babylonian forces in our lives, we must recognize the only Source by which this can be achieved and realised – it is through the Person of God through as revealed for us in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Charlie’s Angels – One of the most fascinating features to the storyline is that we never know who Charlie is. Never seeing his face, we are drawn into the mystery of his voice.
"The LORD" is a significant address. The Hebrew rendering is YAHWEH. Giving His name is a reminder that we are not following an unknown deity or intelligent being that cannot be named. He is YAHWEH! He is not removed from us, as Bette Midler suggests “watching us from a distance”. As we’ve been reminded during December, “God is with us” – Emmanuel! He will be named and known by those who wish to know him!
It would not have been uncommon in Biblical times, for people to attach any number of names that described or captured the image of their deity. It would be appropriate therefore to hear Isaiah attach multiple titles to Yahweh – “Redeemer, Holy One of Israel…the LORD, Israel’s Creator, your King.” (Vs. 14-15)
I am amazed at the number of people who will quickly label someone as a friend. You mention a name and the person will respond with, “Oh yes, I know them. We’re good friends.” Yet, the conversation would reveal that they interacted with them half-a-dozen times over the last few years. That is not true friendship, my friends. C.S. Lewis says of true friendship, “True friendship is rare on earth. It means identifying with someone in thought, heart, and spirit. The whole experience of life is designed to enable us to enter in to this closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know His Word, but do we really know Him?” These were his comments regarding Jesus’ words to Philip in John 14:9, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?”
Does your heart resonate with the desires, thoughts and spirit of Jesus Christ? Do you want what he wants? Do you even know what he wants? Does your spirit and soul thirst for the things that Jesus thirsts for? Have you been so long with Jesus and yet you have not known him?