Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? (KJV) ( Isaiah 45:9 )
How do you treat God when things in your life don’t go according to your plan? Do you argue with Him using logic, blame, or coercion? Maybe you thought you would have had kids at your age, or perhaps a loved one was supposed to be on the earth longer. Your Creator is all powerful and all knowing. Is your faith strong enough to trust in His power and His divinity?
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. (KJV) ( Proverbs 13:12 )
A dream can be a very good thing because it overcomes complacency and can fill you with life. When you dream, be purposeful about how you choose to include God. Keep Him smack in the middle of it all. Otherwise, your dream can take on an unhealthy desire, which can absorb your heart and mind away from God. Keep tweaking your dream and making sure you leave ample room for God to be in the center of it.
For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name. (KJV) ( Amos 4:13 )
If you haven’t noticed lately, we are surrounded by beauty every day. From deep blue oceans to the crisp whiteness of new fallen snow to chipper birds full of songs, all of it was created by God for His glory. With all of the earth singing His praises, He still shares Himself with us and pursues us. Let’s give glory to God for all of the blessings He bestowed on us.
Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me. – Psalm 86:17
We all need signs from God every now and then to get through life. It’s not just a sign for ourselves, but for other people to recognize. This, in turn, speaks to those who may not have a relationship with Him. When you turn to God for comfort in desperate times it strengthens your relationship with God. Remember, He cares.
Come one, come all, everyone who is tired. If you are exhausted and feel heavy like you’ve been hit by a truck, there is hope. You will once again soar. It is time to look to the Lord and trust Him to rejuvenate you. Give rest to your body and He will give you the endurance you need to continue.
And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. (KJV) ( Isaiah 32:17 )
There will be a day when the Lord will bring everlasting peace. Though that time hasn’t come, yet, we can still have temporary peace. Call on the Holy Spirit to bring quietness to your soul. Take time to meditate on an uplifting scripture. Get some fresh air to ease your body. Be at rest with the Lord.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.
The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the LORD, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
With the new year, we often think back on the old. We attempt to think of resolutions to help us correct our flaws, and hopefully, give ourselves a second chance in the new year. We are blessed to have a God who grants second chances. In fact, He grants an infinite number of chances. This is good news because most of us mess up the second chance fairly quickly. One of the amazing facets of God’s character is His incredible patience with us. Psalm 86:15 says it well: “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
How many times have any of us done something really stupid, and realize it right after, or right in the middle of it? Do you ever feel like you can’t do anything right, wondering why you bother trying as you’re going to fail anyway? I’ve had instances when I really didn’t mean to hurt someone, yet I did, and I didn’t know how to set it right. I must admit, I’ve experienced this on more days than I want to admit. It just seems like no matter how hard I try, things just don’t seem to work out, or not that often anyway. Yet, in each instance I look to God for guidance, and he shows me the way.
Just as God is patient and forgiving, He wants His children to be patient with and forgiving of others. “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12). He gives us second chances, and we must give the same to others. Jesus gives a stern warning to those who refuse to forgive, saying that if we will not forgive others, God will not forgive us. If someone is truly repentant, then we are obligated to forgive. Matthew 18:21-22 says “Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Forgiveness, however, is not the same thing as reconciliation. Many people struggle to find the balance between showing mercy and enabling a harmful person to continue harming. We should forgive everyone who wrongs us, just as Jesus forgives us. Forgiveness is between our heart and God’s, removing any barriers that non-forgiveness brings. When someone continues to unrepentantly violate another person’s boundaries, a wise person learns to set firmer boundaries.
Giving someone a second chance means we give him another chance to earn our trust. But that does not mean we instantly forget what experience has taught us. Trust must be earned over time, and we are foolish if we give trust prematurely. We can have a loving and forgiving heart that also practices wise guardianship over our lives.
When we have wronged someone, we have no right to demand another chance. But we should work to earn another chance by continued demonstration of repentance and change.
God does everything possible to draw us to repentance, offering forgiveness and second chances (2 Peter 3:9). But if we continue to reject Him, the offer is withdrawn and, at death, there are no more chances (Hebrews 9:27). God’s grace is our model. We can offer second chances to others until a healthy relationship is no longer possible.
In this new year, we should try to emulate God more. Just as he gives us second chances, give others a second chance as well. Maybe that someone deserves even more than a single second chance, then offer them more chances as long as they are attempting to do what is right. However, if that person is continuously hurting you, then forgive them and walk away. Just because someone has hurt you, it does not mean that it was intentional. Give them that second chance, just as God would give you a second chance. Yet, when it is intentional hurting, sometimes it is best to just cut ties. It is often difficult to do so, but it is occasionally what is best for both. Sometimes, it’s easy to just cut ties, but evaluate the situation. Could you help that person more by giving them a second chance? If so, then that is what god asks us to do.
Let God give you a second chance in the new year, and resolve to be a better person. Also, try to give someone in your life a second chance, maybe they truly deserve it. I hope each of you has a blessed and happy 2017!