Saturday, May 7, 2016

Second Chances

How often we need another chance! Sometimes I wish I could have another chance at parenting my boys (amazing men now), or I think about something I've said or done and just wish I could wipe the slate clean and try all over again, do it right, do it better. So often we simply cannot get that second chance. How very grateful I am that our God offers second chances...sometimes third, fourth...and amazingly more. He is forgiving and forbearing far beyond what we deserve. He is a merciful God of second chances.  I know because I've been forgiven!

You've probably heard me say before that Hosea is one of my favorite books of the Bible. It is a story of matchless love and incomprehensible forgiveness. In so many ways it's my story...and your story. While the details of our lives may not mirror the particular waywardness of Gomer, Hosea's unfaithful wife, still we have wandered away on various paths from a God who loves us. Will He take us back? Read Hosea!

"And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord... I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, 'You are my People' and he shall say, 'You are my God'." (Hosea 2:19-22)

Look carefully in those verses to find the depth and reach of God's forgiveness and redemption. The wayward Israelites, represented by Gomer, had sinned so deeply they were branded "No Mercy." God's beloved, chosen people turned their back on Him and lost their favored standing. God in mercy offers them another chance. When His children fail Him, He will receive His repentant prodigals with open arms. Amazing grace, unfailing love!

God shows us through the drama of Hosea and his grossly unfaithful wife the lengths He is willing to go to bring back those He redeemed.  Gomer is synonymous with unfaithful Israel, and Hosea is a picture of our redeeming God, whose atoning work was finished on the cross of Christ.  Make no mistake, God will chastise His errant children whether by just letting them reap the consequences of their sin (alienation, destruction, pain) or by His direct hand of discipline (Moses not being able to enter the promised land for his arrogance before the Lord).  Though merciful, God NEVER overlooks sin.  Thankfully He offers restoration when we repent and come back to him even if we have to enter His presence tattered, dirty, broken and undone.  His only criterion is a submissive, repentant heart.

I've had to come back to Him many times while growing as a believer.  I had to learn wisdom and discernment before choosing unwisely.  When I failed, He lovingly and tenderly picked me up, cleaned my heart (of doubt, worry, rebellion, negligence...) and set my feet upon a right path again.  Each and every time I sincerely told God I was sorry, I was quickly forgiven. 

For the second time I tried heat embossing in my Bible.  I like it except it is an opaque finish so it covers up scripture.  I don't want to do that very much, but I don't really study out of my journaling Bible, so I will reference my other ones when I want to read the passage for study. 

Page techniques/supplies: Dylusions spray inks, VersaMark ink /white embossing powder, stamps from Sween 'n Sassy stamps (God is Good, Long-Stemmed Silhouettes, Perfect in Faith) and Our Daily Bread (frame), Stampin' Up! ink pad, washi tape, Sharpie Colored pens,hand-decorated tag.

Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps Used: (Go HERE to find them all)

 Long-Stemmed Silhouettes (center flower)

 God is Good (God)

 Perfect Faith (Forgiven on the tag)

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