A Chance to Start Over This Year

Facing the music and focusing on how something fresh can change your life.

One of the most encouraging things about a new year is the word new. It means “unfamiliar . . . made or become fresh . . . different from one of the same category that has existed previously,” says Webster.

New Year
(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

Simply put, it’s a place to begin anew.

Starting over requires knowing where you are. Honestly admitting your present condition. Facing the music.

Remember Jonah? Somewhere down the line, he got his inner directions cross-wired. He wound up, of all places, on a ship in the Mediterranean Sea bound for a place named Tarshish. That was due west.

But God had told him to preach to Nineveh. That was due east.

Jonah never got to Tarshish, as you remember. Through a traumatic chain of events, Jonah was forced to get his head together in the digestive tract of a gigantic fish.

What a place to start over!

Slopping around in the seaweed and juices inside that sea monster, Jonah took a long, honest look at his short, dishonest ministry.

For the first time in a long time, he actually prayed (Jonah 2). He literally yelled for mercy. He promised the Lord he’d keep his vow and get back on target.

Only one creature on earth felt sicker than Jonah: the fish, in whose belly Jonah bellowed. Up came the prophet who hit the road running—this time toward Nineveh.

Believing the Lie

Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, so there are no rebels in fish stomachs. Perhaps you can identify rather easily with Jonah.

This past year hasn’t been your all-time-spiritual-high-plateau year, right? You’ve dodged and ducked, squirmed and squeaked your way through one Tarshish trip after another.

But no more. You’re tired. Exhausted is a better word. Swallowed up may be best. You feel . . .

  • Oppressed
  • Guilty
  • Overused
  • Undernourished

You’re not that old . . . but you’ve run a long way. Few moons but many miles. The enemy of your soul is feeding you the lie:

You’re through. Finished. Useless. You’ve been replaced. Forgotten.

That is not true!

The Beautiful Truth

If God can take a disobedient prophet, turn him around, and set him on fire spiritually, He can do the same with you.

The Lord is a specialist in making something beautiful and good out of something broken and confused.

If you’re standing alone inside a fish, you need to come to terms with those things that need attention.

Before you find your way out, you must determine where you are—and how you got there.

Once that’s accomplished, you’re ready to start over.

Where are you? Start there.

  • Openly and freely declare your need.
  • Don’t hide a thing.
  • Show God all your wounds . . . He’s ready to heal every one.

This New Year, rather than running away, run to Him.

—Chuck

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  • Thanks Pastor to pastors…your insights are always a blessing and encouragement to me…this has been a rough year not in terms of me running but others leaving the fellowship. It hurts, but even trying my best isn’t good enough for some. I know God called me to this work pray I remain faithful.
    Blessings to you and your ministries,
    Gene

  • After reading The Grace Awakening, my husband bought the sermon series for us to share together. We began our new year by listening to the first message last night. Wow! We are anticipating a grace-filled year, for God’s glory. Thank you for your insights for grace-filled living. Have a blessed year!

  • Rev. Bill Morgan

    RBC published a little booklet in March of 2007 I often refer to. It’s called the Road to Realism and states; “Optimists think the glass in half full. Pessimists think it’s half empty. Realists know that if they stick around long enough they’re going to have to wash the glass.” It seems I have spent a lot of my time washing glasses in 2010. I have also been both an optimist and a pessimist at various times.

  • Rev. Bill Morgan

    If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6feet wide by 8feet long and is open at the top, the bird, in spite of it’s ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason being that a buzzard must have a runway at least 10 to 12 feet in order to get off the ground or he will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.
    The ordinary bat that flies around at night is a remarkable creature in the air, but cannot take off on level ground. All it can do is shuffle about helplessly, and, no doubt painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then it can and will take off like a flash.
    A bumblebee, if dropped into an open container will stay there making the circle around the bottom of the container until it dies.
    People are much like one of these three creatures, in many ways. We struggle with our various problems running this way or that; Plodding along with the mundane things in our day, always the same. The runway is to short; The path is to boring, no hill or dale, same ol’, same ol’, day after day; Or just plain running around in circles.
    We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations never realizing that all we have to do is look up! That’s the answer, the escape route and the solution to any problem! Just look up. (Luke 21:28