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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Second Chance

"'Go, stand in the temple courts,' he said, 'and tell the people all about this new life'" (Acts 5:20).

His was a life that had become like an out of control train heading for imminent derailment as a result for his disregard for the consequences of his choices. Alcoholism had cost him self-control, personal dignity, and his job. This disease that was birthed out of poor decision making was determining his destiny. It was beginning to define the man that he was and would be. As this man was getting an up-close view of the bottom of the barrel, the voice of God began to speak like never before. This began a new journey of sobriety, salvation, and second chances.

Fast-forward several years. Through the struggles of endurance and diligence, God continued to show His faithfulness in ways that would blow the mind of this man that was at one time on a fast-tracked road leading to a dead-end. At one point on this road to second-chances, he would surrender to his life to Jesus Christ, be baptized in the church he and his family had started attending together, and become recipients of a love that redefine the direction of their lives. As the economy was spiraling out of control, he found himself unemployed, yet trusting God. As a result of an interview the local paper did with them in regards to a Christmas blessing they received, he was able to share how God had changed his life. After reading this story that was printed in the Christmas day edition, the employers that had let him go three years earlier due to alcoholism called him up and offered him a job...at JUST THE RIGHT TIME. What once detoured him would no longer define him.

The disciples of Jesus had lived out a similar story of failure and redemption. They had deserted Jesus. Even after loud promises and violent demonstrations, they had fled Him, denied Him, and ultimately betrayed Him. Through any angle of observation, they had blatantly put the last nail in the coffin of their relationship with and commitment to Jesus Christ. But, they repented. They humbled themselves. They renewed their devotion to Him. So, as Acts 5 paints  portrait, they find themselves in the midst of controversy, accusations, and abuse. Yet, the angel of God has told them to go back, stand up again, and declare the name of Jesus. He called them to go back and to preach in the very name that had resulted in their trouble, the name they had once abandoned for their own safety. They had betrayed Him, yet God was granting them a second chance. Their previous abandonment did not render them useless. God would give them another opportunity to stand up with Him in complete acknowledgement of the name above all names.

You have made mistakes. We all have. Perhaps you've cheated, lied, betrayed, or have backed down when you should have stood up. Maybe you've compromised some areas of your life that have resulted in guilt, shame, or regret. Don't give up. Don't look at yourself any lower than your Father in Heaven sees you. He sees the destiny, purpose, and promise for which He created you. Look up and see that He offers you another opportunity to do what He's call you to do. Choose not to squander this gift. Determine to stand. Purpose in your heart to persevere through a strength that is only available in Him. Repent of your mistakes. Receive His mercy. Recommit your whole life to live in honor of Him. Your second chance is made available through His matchless grace. Don't give up. Stand up. Move on. He is with you.

2 comments:

Shelley K said...

The one part you left out was how "he" only attended "that church" because of a new friend & neighbor who led "him" directly to God! Thank you for your words, written and spoken, as they are always perfectly uplifting.

Anonymous said...

I praise God for His loving mercies, for hhow He determines in His heart to forgive, see beyond the sins, and focuses instead on the repentant heart. Lord, thank you so much! Thank you for second chances.