Second Chances

When Spring was announced in March 2016, I waited breathlessly (impatiently) for the blooms on the Crab Apple trees in the backyard.  They didn’t burst forth in all their luscious blooms until 3 weeks later.  I caught my breath when I stare outside in wonder and delight of all the signs of Spring our God created. 

Even the lowly Dandelion was exclaimed over.  Its yellow face smiled at me as I walked by.  What is it about the Spring Season that brings me joy?  It brings me a second chance to see the Glory of God here on earth. 
I thought of all the Springs I have enjoyed, and each is one more chance to celebrate!  Eighty-six Springs.  I remember sighting a June Bug with an iridescent bug crawling on the driveway with its delightful colors.  I was seven years ago.  I knew the bug appeared just to celebrate my birthday, even carrying the month of my birth in its name.  A bug God created just for me.
Spring brings new beginnings, new growth and a new outlook from the drab colors of black and white winter.  A rejoicing that wells deep in the heart.  Each new leaf, each bud on a plant waiting to burst into bloom creates energy, wonder and expectation.   A new chance to remember…
As I gazed at the trees dressed in its finery, I think about what it is like to have a second chance in life.  Then I remember the second chances that God gives us to be His children.  There is no one righteous, no, not one.  (Romans 3:10)  For all have sinned. (Romans 3:23)   God provides a way for us to be His  again and again.  “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. 
The trees in my back yard remind me of this verse – This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!  2 Corinthians 5:17
When do these second chances begin?  Nicholas Sparks ‘Don’t think there are no second chances. Life always offers you a Second Chance…It’s called TOMORROW!”  Let’s go further, who gives us each tomorrow?  Our Lord God.  How?  Forgiveness.  Peter asked Jesus, how often are we to forgive someone sins.  The answer?   “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!”  Again in Matthew 6:14, the importance of forgiveness is underlined, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” 
In the verses from Lamentations 3:22-23 – The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness;
 his mercies begin afresh each morning.
The author, Brant Hansen, has written a book called, “Unoffendable”.  In this day and age, the politically correct thing to do is to be offended, angry to the degree of anger and actions that follow anger such as protesting, suing, fighting, and even killing.  
On the back cover, he writes, “Giving up our ‘right’ to be offended can be one of the most healthy, simplifying, relaxing, refreshing, stress-relieving, encouraging things we can do.  Drop your anger and self-centeredness yields to humility.  Let things go, and energy replaces weariness.  Embrace forgiveness, and you’ll be able to love others in risky, unexpected ways.  Choose to be unoffendable, and you’ll flourish the way God intends you to.”
What is behind being forgiven.?  Love!  “Anger is extraordinarily easy. It’s our default setting. Love is very difficult. Love is a miracle.” Brant Henson.
From Max Lucado’s book, “Just Like Jesus”…”God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way.  He wants you to be just like Jesus.”
The Bible Story of Jonah tells how God pursues us and that He has a plan for our lives. God had a job for Jonah, and Jonah tried to run away, stowing away on a ship.  God hurls a powerful wind over the sea.  Jonah was not speaking to God.  The Captain woke up Jonah in the hold telling him to pray to His God to spare our lives.  They cast lots, and this identified Jonah as the culprit.  They demanded to know his name, nationality and god, who obviously was upset with Jonah.  Jonah knew.  He told them to throw him overboard and the sea would be calm.  God knew Jonah needed a ‘cooling off’ time.  A big fish swallowed Jonah. He sat in the fish for 3 days thinking.  What could he do, but cry out to the Lord!   For my salvation comes from the Lord aloneThen God ordered the fish spit Jonah out onto the beach.  Jonah 2:9b-10.
Our salvation comes from the forgiveness from God.  It is a Spring Season in our hearts as a huge change in our lives begins.  God is our second chance!  Our second chance comes from God and His Love and Forgiveness. 
Matthew 6:14 – “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.”
Romans 4:5 – But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.
Ephesians 4:32 – Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
I John 1:9 – But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
Colossians 3:13 – Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

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