Dwight Watt - Watt Thoughts #131 9/18/2006

#131 - God of Second Chances

Spelling the word wrong changes the whole meaning.

On cnn.com on 8-18-2006 “John Karr, the man held in connection with the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, has been saying quiet a lot.” Actually it was a case of them not able to keep him quiet and he was saying quite a lot.

On a sign at church in northeast Georgia this past spring. “His blood will never loose its power.” I don't think they meant we would never see the power of His blood, but that we will always see the power of his blood as it never will lose that power.

Scripture background Matthew 26:74-75.

Have you ever stopped to think of our God as a god of second chances? We often think in terms of second chances with God in the New Testament, but usually not in the Old Testament.

God clearly is a god of second chances in both the Old and New Testaments. Let's look first at Peter, Jesus' disciple. Clearly Peter showed God is more than just a god of just second chances. Think how many times Peter charged off in a wrong way, but yet Jesus/God forgave him and Jesus built his church on Peter and Paul. Peter lost faith numerous times in Jesus' life, but most notoriously at the arrest of Jesus, and yet who preached the first sermon of the Christian church, but Peter.

Paul is another example of second chances. Saul, Paul's name prior to his conversion, probably he helped kill early Christians; definitely he held the coats for the killers of Stephen when he was stoned. That makes him at least guilty of accessory to murder in current law. Yet God took someone as horrible as Saul and made him the largest spreader for the Word in the New Testament.

Look to the Old Testament and discover also how God was a god of second chances even then. We often think of God in the Old Testament as a God who struck people dead, etc and not a god of second chances. True this did occur, but often after several chances. However this is also true of God of the New Testament. Remember God struck Animas dead in the New Testament.

Think of some of the big names in the Old Testament. Second and more chances many of them had.

Think back all the way to the beginning. Adam and Eve. God set a rule in the Garden and the punishment was death. They were not to eat of the Tree of Life. They did. Yet death was not the immediate punishment, but God put them in the outer world to live and hopefully come back closer to him. Yes they did ultimately die, but after a long life outside the garden.

Think of Jonah. He was told to go to Ninevah and preach forgiveness. Now those people were bad, and Jonah told God “Are you crazy?” and made the decision of no he was not going. Now thinking realistically that may not have been that crazy of an answer. Let god strike him dead or go preach in Ninevah and who knew what terrible horrors he would go through to death. Turns out God was a god of second chances and he had a fish swallow Jonah then a chance to go preach again. This time Jonah went and was he ever surprised. They repented of their evil ways and Jonah lives in memory as a hero.

Think of David. No matter how great a king he was and showed in his writings his faith, he lived only because God was a god of second chances. He committed multiple sins peaking in killing an army officer to marry his wife. It would have been easy for God to strike him dead, but he let him live and see greater things.

Is your god a god of second chances? If he is not, it is time for you to hear God calling. How many chances do we get? We really don't know, but we know what Jesus taught. Jesus forgave many people and a number of times their repetitive sinning or large number of sins was recounted. Jesus’ major ministry was healing; physical and mental/spiritual. Look at the four Gospels and what is Jesus doing in the stories, but healing people. Many took the healing and disappeared, but some really caught the spirit.

Jesus said we are to forgive not once, twice or seven times, but seventy times seven. Hopefully none of us have gone that far in repeating sins, but we get second chances often if we do.

Maybe your second chance was a chance to go to college later in life after missing a chance at 20. Maybe it was getting a dream job. Maybe it was physical as I can think in a specific case of mine.

Friday December 13, 2002 was a night of second chances for me. That was the night the ladder fell under me. What were the second chances? First, the cable TV people were working on the line in front of my house and heard the accident. Otherwise I may have lied there and died. In ICU at MCG I remember the nurse telling me what could have happened if I had hit my head different. I could have been paralyzed or had instant death, but God gave me a second chance. Now I know that sounds odd about nurse telling me I could be dead, but I took it as it was intended, to look at how much worse it could have been, but I lived.

Let God be a god of second chances, and ask for forgiveness. Get the opportunity to be the person God wants you to be ad for you to fellowship with him. However be careful, God is not a god of unlimited chances. Sometime, one day, we know not when, your life is ending, and there are no more chances. Make the choice today for forgiveness, and try to be the person you should be. But if you slip, and we all do and will as humans, remember god is a God of second chances at least to seventy times seven chances, and actually in Jewish tradition Jesus was preaching from, that is unlimited chances while we live.

Devotion delivered by Dwight Watt at Swainsboro First United Methodist Church evening service on August 20, 2006.



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