Today’s Scripture: And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 1 Timothy 1:12-13

Life is a series of new beginnings. My wife and I drove to Hammond, Indiana to watch our grandson’s basketball team play in a tournament. The boys played well and came in second place. In one of the games, my grandson fouled out (although for each foul call, my wife thought the referee had unfairly blamed our grandson for a foul somebody else committed). If you’ve ever played sports before, you know nothing comes close to the helpless feeling of fouling out or striking out in a big game.

The great part about playing in a tournament with double elimination is that if you lose one game, you get a chance to play again. In each game, you start over with no fouls. That’s how the Christian life works. Even though there are times when we will sin and make mistakes, the great news is we can get up, learn from our failures, and “play again.” Each day is an opportunity for a new beginning because Christ has forgiven us from all our sins.

Perhaps you have made some bad mistakes in your life: you reacted in anger toward someone who offended you, or you didn’t properly handle a situation. You wish you could change the consequences but can’t. Don’t wallow in self-pity! God can give you a fresh start. Confess your sins and shortcomings to Him, and you can be sure of His forgiveness. Others may not forgive or forget your slip-ups, but He will do it every time. God is a God of new beginnings, second chances, and fresh starts. His grace toward you will never run out.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder