Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 23, 2013 … Our God of 2nd Chances

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 204

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Again I ask any readers to use this link and hear a song sung by Phillips, Craig, and Dean, singing “He’ll Do Whatever It Takes”, which shows us, when we’re disobedient Christians, just how far our God will go with His grace to bring us back to Himself.

Highlight Passage of the Day: Jonah 4: 1-2 [Knowing God’s way and doing it – two very different things!] … [NLT] …  
1 This change of plans upset Jonah, and he became very angry. 2 So he complained to the LORD about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, LORD? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you were a gracious and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. I knew how easily you could cancel your plans for destroying these people.
Contextual Study involving today’s passage found in Jonah, Chapter 4 Go to this link … 

Reference Passage of the Day #1: Numbers 14: 17-19 [Moses praying for God’s mercy in the face of the sins of God’s people.] … [NLT] …  
17 “Please, Lord, prove that your power is as great as you have claimed it to be. For you said, 18‘The LORD is slow to anger and rich in unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. Even so he does not leave sin unpunished, but he punishes the children for the sins of their parents to the third and fourth generations.’ 19 Please pardon the sins of this people because of your magnificent, unfailing love, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.”

 Reference Passage of the Day #2: 2nd Corinthians 12: 8-10 [God’s grace is always sufficient in our times of weakness.] … [NLT] …
8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time He said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. 10 Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 My Journal for Today: Ever been in a place where you clearly knew God’s will and His way, but you went your own way anyway, being flat-out disobedient and rebellious, … almost spitting in the face of God? And then when the deed was done – whatever it was – you were filled with anguish, guilt, and remorse? … Aw, common, admit it! … You’ve been there, haven’t you? Well, I sure have.

Well, Os Hillman calls attention to this type of very human scenario by using the life and journal of the Prophet Jonah as an example of our God of 2nd chances. Jonah knew that God wanted him to go to Nineveh to prophesy God’s word to those people; but Jonah had another idea and rebelled against God’s will; and we know the famous story of what happened when Jonah got his wake-up call in the belly of a great fish. And Jonah was so grief stricken at his own sin that he prayed for God to take his life. And aren’t we glad that God doesn’t always say “YES” to all our prayers.?

Jonah knew that his God – our God – was a God filled with mercy and grace for the people of Nineveh; but Jonah’s heart of hatred for those people caused Jonah to rebel in sinful selfishness. But God showed, as Paul writes about in 2nd Cor. 12, copied above, that His grace is sufficient to overcome our worst weaknesses. In fact that’s the poignant message of the song to which I’ve linked any reader here, helping us all to see and realize that God, Whose Spirit resides in the hearts of us as Christians, will do whatever it takes to bring us back from rebellion and sin into a harmonious relationship with Himself.

Moses knew this when he prayed for God’s recalcitrant and sinful people (see in the Numbers 14 passage above). Paul knew it when he prayed for God to relieve him of the horrible thorn which gripped his life. And Jonah knew it when he prayed to have God take his life in the remorse over his sinful rebellion.

They all knew that we serve a God of 2nd chances; … well, actually He’s a God of third, fourth, fifth, and sixth chances if that’s what is necessary to bring us back into a right relationship with Himself. Yes, sin always, always, ALWAYS has consequences. And all of these men of God, who’re quoted above, knew that; but when we’re faced with our own rebellion or disobedience, … with our very human weakness, … as we fail in carrying out God’s will, … we need to recognize, realize, and receive the grace of a God of 2nd chances to bring us back to Himself.

If you’re in a place where you need God’s grace to cover your weakness … or to come in surrender to receive God’s mercy, … as the old Nike slogan once said, … JUST DO IT! God will be there, … just as He was for Moses, … for Jonah, … and for Paul, … to pick you up and to give you the strength to walk on, … obediently following Him.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, thank You for being my God of 2nd chances. … Amen

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