Thursday, July 27, 2017

When God Gives Second Chances

Pete didn’t deserve another chance.  He was bold.  He was brash.  He was boastful.  He was the kind of guy who would spout off and then realize he said too much.  He was not the winner of “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

And yet, he was offered a second chance. 

In Mark, Pete, better known as Peter, had denied knowing Christ.  He even swore his lack of association with this man Jesus, even though he was indeed a disciple, one who followed and worked along-side him.

And yet, at a critical moment in the story when fingers pointed to him and he was guilty by association, Peter denied such an alignment and friendship.

And he did it three times.

But wait … there’s more.

Peter was given a second chance. 

In Mark chapter 16 we read this.  It’s short.  Only two words tell the story, but the ‘second chance’ offer is there.

“But go, tell his disciples, and Peter that he is going before you into Galilee.”

The angel at the empty tomb is speaking, and he singles out Peter.  It’s not a slam, it’s an invitation into grace, into relationship – it is a second chance.

I can think of a few others who have been given second chances.
~The woman at the well
~The woman caught in adultery
~Zacchaeus, the tax collector
~David, after his affair with Bathsheba
~The repentant thief on the cross

Even in the great parable of the prodigal son, there is a picture of God offering a wayward son a second chance.

I like second chances.
I’ve been offered a few in my life.

It’s like God is saying, “My child, you get to bat again.  I know you struck out last time, but this time, this time you may just hit it out of the park.”

A second chance.
A third chance.
A life-time of chances.

That is what God is offering. 

He wants us to get it right.  And He is standing nearby, cheering, helping, encouraging, inviting. 

Offering Words of
Hope Encouragement
One Word at a Time

Thursday, July 13, 2017

What Makes God Sad

If you gave me the pearl of great price and I never went near it, looked at it, wore it or talked about it, well, that would perhaps make you sad.

If you gave me a million dollars yet I continued to live in poverty, you would be sad.

And what makes God sad?

Someone once counted 365 times in the Bible where God invites us to come to Him.  That is enough for one per day. 

He is the inviting God, the pleading God, the calling God who continually says “Come to me.  Draw near to me.  Seek me.  Find me.  Ask me.”

Never in my reading of the scriptures have I read that God qualifies His invitation first.  I’ve never read this …

“Take a bath first.”
“Get a job first.”
“Make it right with your parents first.”
“Forgive your brother first.”

… “and then you may approach.” 

Even in the story of the prodigal son we see a fine example of Father God’s love and compassion on the son.

   “He looked for the son.”
   “He ran to the son.”
   “He welcomed the son.”
   “He forgave the son before the son even had
     a chance to utter his own confession.”

You see, “God’s sorrow lies in our refusal to
approach Him when we have sinned or failed Him.”  Brennan Manning said that in Abba’s Child.

God wants us, longs for us, looks for us, and calls to us at every turn in our lives; the good, the bad, the happy, the sad, the up times, the down times, in times of prosperity and times of poverty.

I like what Brennan says in another book … “I (we) have been seized by the power of a great affection.”
~Brennan Manning – The Ragamuffin Gospel

The glad heart of God welcomes us, receives us, redeems us, regardless of where we’ve wallowed, waded, wasted, and wandered.

God is jumping for joy, He dances over one lost child coming back home.

Now that is a dance I want to see!

Offering Words of
Hope Encouragement
One Word at a Time

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Word of Comfort

Dear Child:

Many have questions about their future.  You do too.  That’s normal, after all.  Life seems so uncertain, doesn’t it? 

Today we have earthquakes, tsunamis, terrorist’s threats, economic collapse, bank accounts being depleted, jobs being pulled out from under us.  When does it all end?

Some have questioned whether I even exist or if I’ve left the room. 

I’m still here.  I’m looking down on you right this moment.  I still have a future with hope mapped out for you. 

You’ve just lost sight of me in all the rubble of confusion and doubt that you are under. 

I’m here.  Look up.

Here’s something I put into the ancient scriptures a long time ago.

“For surely, I know the plans I have for you, says God.  Plans for your welfare, to give you a future with hope.” 

You’ll find that in Jeremiah 29:11 if you want to look it up.

A future with hope.  That’s true.

Remember, I own the cattle on a thousand hills.  I notice when a sparrow falls to the ground.  I clothe the lilies and tulips, and I keep an eye on you.

I am God!

When you think about your future, just know that I’m here now and I’m leading you into your future.  Take my hand. 


Offering Words of
Hope Encouragement
One Word at a Time