You Can Begin Again

You Can Begin Again

"Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good."—Isa. 1:16-17

Dr. Keller B. Breland of Hot Springs, Arkansas, is one of America's leading animal psychologists and experts on animal behavior. Believe it or not, he has trained chickens to play baseball and walk a tightrope. He trains raccoons to play basketball and a cow to ring a tiny school bell. Under his care­ful teaching hens learn to play "Yankee Doodle" without missing a note, a feat many boys and girls can't perform even after a year's piano lessons.

At Dr. Breland's farm near Hot Springs his "pupils" are given training they never forget.

That's just the point. They can't forget. They can't do their tricks wrong. Given the proper rewards, always a tidbit of their favorite food, they go through their motions machinelike with no notion of what they're doing. Dr. Breland says that these animals will always obey when given the right command or signal. No matter what the conditions, how noisy curious crowds might get, or whether they're on television or not, they go through their tricks.

All of which demonstrates how marvelously God made us and how different from animals. For we can change.

Not only does our heavenly Father let us perform badly if we desire, but with his help we can suddenly redirect our lives and become different and better people. We can change from stingy to generous. From bitter to sweet. From lazy to helpful. From lawless to obedient.

Unlike the animals, doomed to perform according to their master's commands, man can change at will. We are God's children. He gave only to man the power to become better.

Limitless opportunities for beginning again confront us every day. Can this particular task I am doing right this minute be done better than yesterday? What did I learn from the game I played yesterday? What were my mistakes and weak points? How can I improve?

What are my selfish and mean habits? Why not drop them and switch with God's assistance to new and better ways?

What about those wrongs, which we call sins, that we did yesterday, and last week, and last year? Have we told God we're sorry, asked his forgiveness, and resolved not to commit them again?

We can begin again. It's never too late. Remember the thief who was crucified beside Jesus Christ? In his dying hours he asked our Lord to save him. Jesus assured him that they would be together in paradise that very day! What wonderful news for a desperate man who saw his whole life ending in failure!

Not only does God tell us we can change; he gives us strength to change, to turn from wrong ways to right ones, to give ourselves to him instead of living selfishly. Jesus told us to pray in the Lord's Prayer, "Give us this day our daily bread." This means not only our three meals a day but also spiritual strength.

If you're not satisfied with your life, your situation is not hopeless by any means. If you want to change, you can with God's help.

Why be like one of Dr. Breland's animals or any animal, for that matter? Be a true child of God. You can begin again if you ask his help.

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