Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Gift of Second Chances

2nd chancesChristmas Gifts from the Prophets
The Gift of Second Chances
Part 3 in a series
By Brenda Black

“Gather together, gather together, O shameful nation, before the appointed time arrives and that day sweeps on like chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord comes upon you, before the day of the Lord's wrath comes upon you. Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord's anger.” (Zephaniah 2:1-3)

Doesn't sound like a typical Christmas verse, I know. Bear with me. Go deeper. Look for the gift Zephaniah brings. This one just might be the most precious of possibilities. It is the gift of second chances!

If ever there were a time to remember redemption, it's at Christmas. While the world has reduced your options to “naughty” verses “nice,” God sent His Son to cover all of the spectrum and provide the only One who could cover our inadequacies and sinful behavior from the slightest offense to the greatest affront.

Don't miss a significantly important aspect of this wrapped up warning from Zeph. He's presenting the gift of second chances to the shameful as well as the humble – the naughty and the nice. For God is “patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9b)

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief” says Peter like Zephaniah. There is an appointed time. Just as Jesus' arrival one silent night, so too shall He come again, in God's perfect timing. Once He came as a vulnerable infant, dependent on man's protection and provision, in order to live as fully human. Next time He enters our atmosphere, He'll break the silence of indifference and silence the clamor of blasphemous proclamations! He'll come as King and Judge and He'll come in divine glory!

We can practice preparations for His coming this Christmas. Seek righteousness. Seek humility. Seek the Lord and do what He commands. The prophet Zephaniah delivered a message that grants us plenty of opportunity to pick the perfect gift for Christmas and every day of our lives. He gave us the chance to get ready, a reason to repent!

Again Peter confirms: “Dear friends...I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.

“First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, 'Where is this “coming” he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.' But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and with water. By water also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men...

“Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” (2 Pet. 3:1-7, 11-12a)

The best gift you could give yourself this Christmas is to be honest before the Lord and lay down the sin. Seek righteousness. That may take laying down the pride in order to seek humility. The season of second chances will one day be gone. And just like the last minute rush to get all the packages purchased and bought, time is running out to be right with God.

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