When You Ask God For A Reset, Be Specific

Look closely at yourselves. Test yourselves to see if you are living in the faith.” 2 Corinthians 13:5

Nothing becomes transforming until it becomes specific. You can ask God anytime for a fresh start in your life. But you don’t just say, “God, I want you to change me.” He wants to know what you have in mind!

You cannot solve any problem until you first identify it as a problem and that means you have to admit that there are problems in your life. The more specific you are about what you want God to change in your life, the sooner it’s going to happen.

The Bible says it like this: “Look closely at yourselves. Test yourselves to see if you are living in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Where do you need a reset? What would you like God to change in your life to give you a fresh start?

How about in your connection to God? If there has ever been a time in your life when you felt closer to God than you do right now, then you need a reset.

How about in your body? Do you need help with your metabolism or your fitness or your chronic illness? You can ask God for that! 

Do you need a reset in your priorities? Have you started spending all your time doing things you know are not really important? You need a reset in your schedule.

What about a relationship? Do you need to reset a relationship that has grown stagnant or is deteriorating? You can ask God to help with that. 

How about in your career? If you’re out of work right now or if your job is keeping you from pursuing Christ, then you need a reset.

Do you need a reset in your thought life? If you’re having thoughts that you know are wrong, that you can’t control, or that scare you, then you need God to help you reset your thoughts and give you new ones.

Maybe you need a reset in your habits, your parenting, your schedule, your finances, or even your dream.

Whatever needs a reset in your life, just ask God for it and be specific!

The First Step To Reset

“Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it?” Isaiah 43:18-19

You are a product of your past. You have been shaped by the good and the bad things in your life. But you are not a prisoner of your past you can be free!

That’s what Christianity is all about. Through Jesus Christ, you can be born again and start a new life. Jesus makes it possible for you to push the reset button and get a second chance.

Here’s what God says about your past: “Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

God doesn’t want you constantly looking at the past. If you’re always looking in the rearview mirror, then you’re going to crash! The only way you can move forward is to focus on the present and look forward to the future.

The rest of your life is in the future, not in the past. Your past is past; it’s over. You can’t change it, so don’t dwell on it. Instead, start asking God to do something new in you.

Maybe you feel like nothing new is happening in your life right now. Do you know why? Because you’re not asking. James 4:2 says, “You don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it”. Look again at what that says: You don’t have it because you don’t ask for it.

If you’ve never asked God for a reset in your life, then all you need to say is, “God, I need a fresh start. I’ve blown it. I’ve made mistakes, and I need you to reboot my life.”

This is the first step to a reset. You just have to ask God for it! 

Everyone needs a reset at some point because life is hard, and we all make mistakes. Are you ready for God to do something new in your life? Ask him for a fresh start, and he’ll give you renewed energy, a renewed spirit, renewed hope, and a renewed heart.

Turn Your Pain Into A Testimony

“In everything we do we show that we are God’s servants by patiently enduring troubles, hardships, and difficulties.” 2 Corinthians 6:4

We often think that the world is impressed with our success and how we enjoy our prosperity. But they’re actually more impressed by how we as Christians handle adversity.

When you’re going through pain, non-believers around you are watching you. They’re wondering what it means to be a Christian when you’re in the same kind of pain they are. Does it look any different?

The truth is, we have the same pain as everybody else. We just have a different source of comfort. 

Your successes don’t give you credibility. Your suffering gives you credibility. The more honest and vulnerable you are about the suffering in your life, the more powerful your impact will be in people’s lives.

The apostle Paul was a pro at using his pain to model his message. He says in 2 Corinthians 6:4, “In everything we do we show that we are God’s servants by patiently enduring troubles, hardships, and difficulties”.

Your deepest life message will come out of your deepest pain. The world doesn’t need to see Christians who are perfect or have it all together. They need something real and authentic. They need to see Christians who are patient in pain, who walk faithfully in suffering.

Every area of your life where you’ve experienced pain is a testimony. Has God helped you work your way out of deep debt? That was painful but it’s also a testimony. Has God helped you patiently endure chronic pain? That’s a testimony. Anywhere you’ve had pain and experienced God’s help is a testimony.

I urge you not to waste your pain; don’t waste your hurt. People all around you are going through the very thing you’ve already gone through, and they need your help. They need you to comfort them.

The greatest witness of God’s love in all of history was not Jesus’ perfect life, his sermons, his miracles, or his stories. It was his suffering. 

God can use your faithfulness in suffering to great effect in someone’s life. In fact, your faithfulness in suffering could be your greatest witness!

Why You Need To Be Open About Your Pain

We have spoken frankly to you; we have opened our hearts wide.” 2 Corinthians 6:11

Do you want to help people who are in pain? Then you need to be willing to share how your own pain got your attention.

Pain is a warning light that tells us something is wrong and needs our attention. You could probably think of many examples of when pain got your attention. 

The apostle Paul experienced a lot of pain in his life and freely told the story of his pain to help others. When you’re sharing about your own pain in order to help others, do these three things. 

First, be open about your feelings. You can’t mask your feelings and help others at the same time. Paul said to the Corinthian church, “We have spoken frankly to you; we have opened our hearts wide” (2 Corinthians 6:11). When you’re sick, do you tell others you’re not feeling well? When you’re down or discouraged, do you open up to people about it? Saying you’re “fine” is the easy answer, but it will never contribute to an honest relationship.

Second, be humble about your faults. Paul says in Galatians 6:5, “Each of us must bear some faults and burdens of his own. For none of us is perfect!” Since you know you’re not perfect, don’t try to pretend you are. People don’t need you to be perfect. They need you to be real.

Third, be honest about your fears. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:20, “I do admit that I have fears that when I come you’ll disappoint me and I’ll disappoint you”. Have you ever been open enough to share your fears with someone, even when it made you vulnerable? The greatest Christian who ever lived admitted he had fears. That kind of honesty is required in authentic relationships.

The hurting people around you need to hear about how you’ve struggled and how God brought you through but they don’t need it tied up with a pretty bow.

We all have feelings, faults, and fears. It’s time we share them for the benefit of others.

What Is Redemptive Suffering?

God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4

One of the purposes of your life is to serve others. And God can use your pain to help you serve more effectively by making you more sensitive to other people’s pain.

Pain makes you more empathetic to those who are experiencing the same kind of pain you’re in. Rather than focusing on your own pain, you can choose to redirect your focus to helping others in pain.

Jesus wants to redeem your suffering. Redemptive suffering is when you use the pain you’re going through to help other people.

The Bible says, “[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer” (2 Corinthians 1:4-6).

Who is better qualified to minister to a parent grieving the loss of a child than another parent who has experienced such grief? Who is better qualified to help someone with an addiction than someone who has also battled an addiction? Who is better qualified to walk with someone through a cancer diagnosis than someone who has fought their own cancer?

Whatever pain you are suffering right now, God wants to use it to help others if you’ll surrender it to him.

How To Handle Your Mixed Emotions

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”Romans 12:15

The truth is, life rarely goes back to “normal” after a difficult season. Hard times change people and not just people but also the world around you. To resume life successfully after a difficult time, you’ll need to make some adjustments.

Four principles from Scripture will help you build a better, stronger life after a difficult season. We’ll look at one today and the others in the next few days. The first one is this: Expect to feel mixed emotions

God’s people felt mixed emotions when they returned to Jerusalem after being held captive in Babylon for 70 years. Their city was in complete ruins, yet the first thing they did was rebuild their house of worship. As they finished laying the foundation, some of the people shouted thanksgiving to God, while others wept loudly when they remembered what the other temple was like. 

Ezra 3:13 describes how their emotions mingled together: “The people could not distinguish the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people were making so much noise. And the sound was heard from afar”

Maybe you too have experienced conflicting emotions when easing back into life after a period of suffering or loss—the loss of a loved one, a job, a home, or a friendship. It’s 100 percent normal to feel grief mixed with joy, and sadness mixed with excitement. 

That’s why the first thing you should do is give yourself grace for the mixed emotions you feel and give grace to others too. Difficult seasons, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, are often felt by everyone. So it’s important to be empathetic toward people dealing with conflicting emotions too.

Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep”.

Change is hard to get used to. God will often have you learn new habits and behaviors as he rebuilds your life. So be kind to yourself—and to everybody else when you experience mixed emotions.

When you’re coming out of a season of crisis, loss, or trauma, it can be hard to imagine getting back on your feet again. But God wants to give you a fresh start and help you build a life that is better than it was before.

God Can Top Your Biggest Dream

God can do anything, you know — far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!” (Ephesians 3:20 )

God’s dream for your life is exponentially bigger than your dream. It’s eternally significant. 

There are a lot of dreams you could have that may seem big, but they wouldn’t be significant. You could dream of being a millionaire by a certain age, but for what purpose? Do you think God put you on this planet to live for yourself? Of course not! God’s dream for your life is bigger than your dream.

Ephesians 3:20 says, “God can do anything, you know far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!”

I’ve never been accused of small dreaming. I have big visions in life. Yet God says, think of the greatest thing I could do in your life, the greatest way I could bless your life. Dream the biggest dream, the greatest vision and I can top that!”

You have no idea what God wants to do in your life. You are living such a small fraction of what you’re capable of. You are doing with your life such a small portion of what God wants to do in your life. 

God wants you to dream big. He wants you to base your dream not on what you think you can do but on what you think God can do. He wants you to use the imagination that he gave you, because dreaming big honors him. It shows faith. It shows trust.

Many years ago a church purchased 120 acres of land for their campus. That’s bigger than Disneyland! When word got out, people said, “What kind of church is this that’s going to go buy 120 acres of Orange County property? Who do those people think they are?”

When the pastor heard that, he said, “That’s the wrong question. The question should be, ‘Who do we think God is?’” We were dreaming big because we knew God had a big plan for the church.

Let the size of your God determine the size of your goal.

God Wants Whatever You’ve Got

Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.” (John 6:5-6)

Do you remember the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish? I think it’s amazing that out of 5,000 people, only one person brought a lunch. I’m thinking a lot of people were hiding a picnic basket under their robes because they didn’t want to share with anybody else. But one little boy offered the bread and fish that he packed for his lunch. He gave Jesus what little he had, and God used it not just to feed a lot of people but also to show them how much he cared and how powerful he is.

God always starts with what you have. You may not have much time. Your finances may not be worth much. You may not think you have much talent. 

But you can give God everything in your life. Give him your heart. Give him your reputation. Give him your past, your present, and your future. It may not be much, but you can give him your five loaves and two fish. 

In John 6:5-6 Jesus asks, “‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do”

Jesus wasn’t sweating how to feed 5,000 people. He already had in mind what he was going to do. He saw the need long before they did. And he had a plan.

You need to understand this truth today: God always has the answer before you even know the problem. God is not sweating your unsolvable problem. It’s not too late in the day for Jesus. He saw your problem long before you did. He knew it was coming, and he already had a plan for it. God knows the solution to your problem before you even recognize it’s a problem. 

So why are you worrying? Just admit you have an unsolvable problem, and then give God everything you have.

Why Pain Keeps You From Greater Harm

“God is gently calling you from the jaws of trouble to an open place of freedom.” Job 36:16

Sometimes God uses pain to protect you and guard you. 

Pain in one area can keep you from having an even worse pain in another area; it protects you from greater harm. In this way, pain can be a blessing in disguise! For example, a fever warns you of an infection that needs to be dealt with. It’s a small pain that can alert you to a life-threatening illness.

When you’re in pain emotionally, it often means something is out of order in your relationship to God, others, or yourself. He uses pain to keep you from walking into a hidden trap. Job 36:16 says, “God is gently calling you from the jaws of trouble to an open place of freedom”

Think of Joseph’s story how everything in the first 40 years of his life went wrong. He went through all kinds of injustice. He faced racism, was accused of rape, and experienced family conflict. He was thrown in prison for no reason. And he was painfully mistreated year after year. But God was guarding and guiding and growing him and getting him ready for greatness.

In Genesis 50:20, Joseph is talking to the people who brought on his pain and sold him into slavery. Looking back at all that had happened, this is what he says about the pain he experienced: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good”

God is doing the same thing with your pain. But because you can’t see the whole picture that God sees, you often get impatient.

When you get discouraged because you think everything you have experienced is for nothing, you need to remember John 13:7, where Jesus says, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand”.

You cannot see the whole picture now. You will not fully understand here on Earth why some things have happened to you—but you will one day. And while you wait, you can trust that God is working and using your pain to guard and protect you. Your pain will not be wasted!

God’s Correction Is Not Punishment

Let God train you, for he is doing what any loving father does for his children.” Hebrews 12:7

Do you know the difference between correction and punishment?

Punishment is a penalty for the past, and correction is training for the future. Correction is discipline, not punishment. 

When something bad happens, we often think God is punishing us when God is actually just correcting us. How can we know this? Because God doesn’t punish his children. Jesus has already taken all of the punishment for every sin on the cross.

Every sin you have ever committed and will ever commit has already been paid for. So God doesn’t punish you for your sins—but he does correct you. His correction is the evidence of his love, because he doesn’t want you to keep going the wrong direction. 

One way God corrects us is through pain. Hebrews 12:8-10 says, “If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness”.

God doesn’t correct those who aren’t his children. As a father, I didn’t correct other people’s kids, but I certainly corrected mine. I did it for their good because I wanted them to know the joy of following God and doing things his way.

God wants the same for you if you have chosen to follow him and are his child.

Following Jesus means cooperating when God brings any kind of correction into your life not because he wants to punish you but because he loves you. When God corrects you, he isn’t mad at you. He’s mad about you!

The Bible says, “Let God train you, for he is doing what any loving father does for his children” (Hebrews 12:7).

God’s correction is for your good, even when it comes with pain.

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