Today I am beginning a series of posts regarding the subject of restoration. My goal in this blog series is not to be exhaustive, but to offer help and encouragement. I am going to attempt to make each post brief and concise as I build towards my final post. You may be one of the 1,500 pastors (estimated) resigning monthly from ministry here in the United States, or someone sitting in church who feels trapped, stuck, or in a helpless situation that you believe is inescapable. Most people who are in need of restoration believe there is no way out. Let me tell you first hand that restoration is not only possible, it is available for you.
Not long ago I took my son with me to share my personal story of restoration at a men's breakfast. I was shocked at the response. Over half of the men asked for prayer concerning secrets in their lives, close to 75% wanted prayer for broken relationships, and half prayed to renew their walk with Christ. Restoration is a vital subject today. But first...
I want to start by speaking to anyone reading this who is in a tangled situation right now. You may be in an adulterous relationship or addicted to pornography; perhaps you are so bound by drugs and/or alcohol that you just cannot stop even though you see that it is destroying your marriage and your children; depression and thoughts of suicide so grip your mind day in and day out, and you are literally paralyzed with fear over the reality of how close you are to planning out your last day on this earth. You need to know that there is hope for you. You are not so far gone that God cannot rescue you. But...restoration is a process, and it is a process that must begin with YOU.
Over the next few days I will be sharing on five topics, but let me close this post, which is more of an introduction to this series, with a word for those who are in bondage today:
If I could say one thing to you today regarding your situation, it is simply this: STOP! This may sound basic, but it is so important. STOP trying to figure out an exit strategy from your sin, crisis, trial, or whatever else it may be. Just STOP! Trying to maneuver your way out of your own mistake is like trying to wrestle your way out of quicksand. You only sink further! Do not say to yourself, "Tomorrow is going to be my day. Tomorrow I will go and get the help I need. Tomorrow I am going to make that phone call or send that email." Tomorrow may never come. Whatever it is you think you need to do tomorrow, do it right now. Trying to live off of tomorrow as you attempt to figure out your own plan of escape is living from a place of panic and self-deception. Tomorrow leads to false hope. There is no tomorrow, there is only right now. Make the decision now to STOP whatever it is that you are doing and determine to get help now. Who can you call right now? Who can you email right now?
Once you make up your mind that today is YOUR day of freedom, once you make that important phone call or send that necessary email for help, you will begin to feel hope (no matter how small it may be) slowly rise up inside of you. Position yourself for the grace of God to kick in today and buckle up as you prepare for the wonderful journey on the road of restoration. I believe in you.
Scriptures to hold on to:
Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool."
Jeremiah 30:17 "For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord..."
Joel 2:25,26 "I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame."
Jeremiah 32:27 "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?"
Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."
Psalm 51:10-12 "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit."