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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fresh Starts Are Always Available

In review of Lamentations 3:40-42a it says, “Let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord. Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven and say, ‘We have sinned and rebelled’”

Bottom Line:
Consider our ways, turn and repent. Lift up our heart and hands to God and confess how we have sinned and rebelled against him.

What this means to me:
I am encouraged to examine my ways and thoughts. I should confess, repent and turn back to the Lord. I should lift up heart and hands to God and say, I have sinned and rebelled against you.

Today's passage comes from the end of Lamentations chapter 3. This chapter speaks of hope in the Lord's faithfulness. The writer is recounting how he has been on the opposite end of blessings from the Lord (seems he had rejected the Lord before and was doing things his own way.) He then switches gears, saying he will never forget this time, however he brings to mind how the faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies begin afresh each morning. The Lord is good to those who search for and depend on him. So even though we may feel oppression against us, it is best for us to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. He then goes on to encourage those at a younger age to submit to the yoke of God's discipline. Though grief may come, God also shows compassion. So we are encouraged to test and examine our ways, confess and turn back to the Lord. The Lord will hear us and provide all that we need and give us a fresh start.

So the path to a fresh start and a clear conscience begins with repentance. As I wrote about yesterday, it’s best to start with a review of every area of my life, and then repent of every sin that comes to mind.

Today’s passage says, “Let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord. Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven and say, ‘We have sinned and rebelled’” (Lamentations 3:40-42a NLT).

Repentance does not mean rationalizing my sin. I can’t say, “It was no big deal.” It was a big deal, or I wouldn’t have remembered it. I can’t say, “It happened so long ago” or “It was just a stage I went through” or “Everybody does it.” It doesn’t matter! I cannot rationalize sin, minimize it, excuse it, or blame others. That would not be true repentance.  Repentance means that I take responsibility for my sin, I then turn away from it, and replace it with God and his grace.

The greatest holdup to the healing of my hang-up is me. I’m not waiting on God; I’m not waiting on anybody else. God wants to heal the hang-up in my life, but the greatest holdup to my hang-up is me.

1 John 1:8 say, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (NIV).

The next step is up to me.  Will I get rid of the self-defeating habits in my life? If so, It will all start with gut-level honesty and recognizing that something is wrong, no matter how much I want to rationalize it and excuse it. I need to admit it, confess it, and get it out of my life.

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