A NEW YEAR — A NEW BEGINNING

Tim Patterson - Executive Director/Treasurer

 

Tears ran down her cheeks making crevasses in her make up and leaving tracts of mascara that ended in black pools on her blouse. Her body shook like a blade of grass in the wind as she lamented her condition. Between heaving sobs she repeated the phrase, "If I could just start all over, I know things would be different now!"

 

It was one of those times as a pastor and counselor that you feel totally helpless. No amount of "good counsel" or encouraging words would take away the pain and hurt. Nothing could be done to change the events of the past. The ominous cloud of guilt and shame that seemed to hover over her would nourish its fruits in the soil of her wounded soul for seasons to come.

   

This scenario has taken place at many different times and in thousands of places, with the only difference being that the names and faces change. The age-old axiom remains the same from generation to generation, "What we plant, we shall reap." As one sage has said, "Many sow their wild oats, then pray for crop failures!" Oh, how mankind refuses to believe the principle of The Law of the Harvest! But nonetheless, it is true and we suffer for our deeds.  

We cannot undo what is done. We cannot avoid the consequences of past actions. They will track us down and find us like a bloodhound on the trail of a varmint. "Be sure your sins will find you out." That is just a fact of life, though unpleasant it might be. But if this were the only fact of life then indeed we should have just reason for continued despair and grief.    

 

God, through His infinite wisdom, mercy, and love has looked upon mankind in his dilemma and provided a means by which he can find relief. That Sovereign provision is truly a “Land of Beginning Again."

 

It is that beautiful place of grace where we can start all over again. It is that place surrounded by the walls of forgiveness that refuse to let the enemies of past failures enter in. It is that place of peace, contentment, and joy. It is that place where a King keeps careful watch over His subjects. But only those who are willing to enter in by the one and only gate can enjoy the benefits of this blessed land. This gate can only be opened by using two special keys. The key of forgiveness and the key of forgetting.  Both must be used to open the locks that bar us entrance. The keys are not difficult to obtain. In fact, all that is required is to request them of the King who will freely give them to all who ask. And once you receive His gift you become a Child of the King and an Heir to the Kingdom.

 

But sadly, few ask and few receive. Many of us will on a daily basis make resolutions and promises of change. Some for the better and others for worse. Maybe you have blown it in the past or possibly you have made such a mess of your life that you see absolutely no hope. I am not going to tell you that your past will change nor that you will not suffer the consequences of past actions.  I am telling you that you can start afresh and new.

 

You can enter into a land of beginning again. But you must be willing to receive forgiveness and forgive yourself and you must choose to forget the past. You must throw it out like yesterday's garbage. Yes, it will be difficult. Sure there will be painful times of relapse and of course, it will be frightening as well. But if you want to start all over again, you can. Is that what you want? Or do you want to continue to wallow in your past failures?

 

Today can be a new day. A time for a new start. The keys are in your hands. Will you open the gate and enter in? It's a beautiful land, this land of beginning again. Jesus said, "Come unto me all you who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest."

 

If you would like to know more about how you can begin again, please feel free to contact us here at the Baptist State Convention of Michigan offices. Any of our staff would be thrilled to share with you how to enter into “Land of Beginning Again.”

The Land of Beginning Again

by Louisa Fletcher

 

I wish that there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door,
And never be on again.

I wish we could come on it all unaware,
Like the hunter who finds a lost trail;
And i wish that the one whom our blindness had done
The greatest injustice of all
Could be at the gates like an old friend that waits
For the comrade he's gladdest to hail.

We would find all the things we intended to do
But forgot, and remembered too late,
Little praises unspoken, little promises broken,
And all of the thousand and one
Little duties neglected that might have perfected
The day for one less fortunate.

It wouldn't be possible not to be kind
In the Land of Beginning Again;
And the ones we misjudged and the ones
whom we grudged
Their moments of victory here
Would find in the grasp of our loving handclasp
More than penitent lips could explain.

For what had been hardest we'd know had been best,
And what had seemed loss would be gain;
For there isn't a sting that will not take wing
When we've faced it and laughed it away;
And i think that the laughter is most what we're after
In the Land of Beginning Again.

So I wish that there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
And all of our poor selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door,
And never be put on again.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board. 

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