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Starting Over

by Skip Heitzig |
In December of 1914, a fire destroyed the laboratory of inventor Thomas Edison in West Orange, New Jersey. The next day as he looked over the ruins, Edison said, "There is great value in disaster, for all of our mistakes are burned up." He was 67 years old at the time, but he immediately started work on building a new, more efficient facility.

Thank God we can start over. We think about this every January First, as we begin a new year. We have a clean slate--365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes and 12 seconds to do new things, change old habits, improve our lives. This is the time of year when people make resolutions. These are inward commitments to change, to do things like lose weight, stop smoking, or clean out the garage or the attic.

Good as those things might be, they're not as important as working to change some of the other things we do. Galatians 5 lists some of these: "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like" (v. 19-21). These "works of the flesh" are to be replaced with the fruit of the Spirit: "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (v. 22-23).

If you've ever tried to develop these in your own strength, you understand real disappointment. They're called the fruit of the Spirit because it's only by the power of God that they can become part of our lives. And fortunately God is more than willing to help us. Only the power of God can overcome our natural tendency toward the works of the flesh.

So, what was 2008 like for you? Was it a disappointment, or even a disaster? Well, don't despair. God allows fresh starts. As it says in Lamentations 3:21-23, "This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."

Fewer and fewer people look at their future with optimism, but we have every reason to face the New Year with great confidence. Thank God that with His help we can change. And thank God that He never does. His mercy and His compassion are new, not only every year, but every day. Through His forgiveness, our mistakes are burned up and we can start over.

In His strong love,

Skip Heitzig

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The Daily God Book: Through the Bible in 365 Days

The Daily God Book: Through the Bible in 365 DaysThe Daily God Book: Through the Bible in 365 Days is an innovative devotional by Skip Heitzig. In it, you'll find unique insights on key stories and chapters throughout the Bible, along with points to consider as you read.

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