I am renewed

His Compassion Renews Me

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Several years ago, I made a choice that turned out to be a rather large mistake.  And, I had to live with it.  It wasn’t one of those things that I could say, “I’m sorry God.  I messed up.  Please forgive me,” and be done with it.  Oh, I did say those words.  And God certainly forgave me.  But the consequences of my mistake remained. For years.  I couldn’t get out of the situation I had created.

There, in the midst of the difficulties I had brought on myself, I began to despair, until God brought this verse to mind.

God’s compassions are new every morning.  He didn’t abandon me because I messed up one time.  He wasn’t waiting for me in some alternate-reality morning where I hadn’t made my poor choice.  He was there, the midst of my mess, and He had a new plan.  He took the frustrations that stemmed directly from my bad choice and began to weave them together for good in my life.  He taught me patience, humility, and not a few things about relationships and how to wisely negotiate them.  He awed me as He continually provided solutions for me, even when I had caused the problems in the first place.

Yes, Susan, you made a bad choice.  And you’ll have to live with that.  But this morning, in the midst of your self-created struggles, my compassion is new for you.  My faithfulness has not failed because you were unwise one time.  My lovingkindness never ceases.  I can take your mess and make a new plan out of it – one that glorifies Me.

And he did.  Praise God, he did.  I’ve finally stepped out of those circumstances, and I can look back at that time in my life and thank Him for his faithfulness.

Every morning, I am renewed by the lovingkindness of my God.  And I mean every morning – happy ones, tragedy-laced ones, ones where I celebrate my successes, and especially ones where I shake my head at my own mistakes.  His compassion renews me.

I am Invited to Live

On Life and Grace

I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life. John 5:24 HCSB

I’ve been a Christian since I was 8 years old.  That’s a mighty long time, and you’d think I’d have this Christian-living thing down pat by now. Decades of practice should have already made me perfect.

Except that it hasn’t.  Daily, I make mistakes.  I sometimes act selfishly.  Just last week, I messed up big time and hurt people I love.  Let’s just call it what it was – sin.  If anyone deserves judgment, if anyone has her punishment “coming to her,” it’s me.

And yet, what I got was grace – undeserved favor.  God forgave me. My family forgave me. All is restored and well, and I am a wiser woman because of the ordeal.  Last week, I felt the weight of the yuckiness upon me. This week, I am praising God for the fresh breath of life He’s given.

How can this be?  How can I deserve one thing and receive another?  Because John 5:24 is active in my life.  I have heard Jesus’ words, and I believe them.  I believe God sent Jesus to earth to become my sacrifice, to take my punishment for me.  He died – so I don’t have to.

I will not come under judgment, now or later. While I walk on this planet, I am forgiven and free.  When I step off of it, I will still be forgiven and free.  I have life here.  I’ll have life there.  Eternally.

But this grace didn’t come cheaply.  Christ gave his very life to win it for me.  So, I’m not saying a person can just live however she wants to live, sin as much as she desires, and in the end it’s all ok.  No.  Becoming a Christian means giving your life to Christ, making him Lord and boss.  There is a difference between living your life in willful rebellion and in living it while striving to please Him but tripping over your own humanness every now and then.  I’m in the latter category.

I have passed from death to life.  My sins are paid for.  Christ was judged in my place.

I am free to live.