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u-turn

New Year’s is always a great time to reflect.
Any time of year is a good time to start heading the right direction if you have been going the wrong direction.
I love to make U-TURNS… in fact, it is one of the reasons I’d love to move to Florida… other than the fact they will have a high temperature of 70* today, U-TURNS are legal (unless posted).
There’s just something that feels good about going the right direction when you realize you’ve been going in the wrong direction.

On Thanksgiving, Luke & I traveled down to Indiana together because we had to return for a scrimmage Luke had.
On the return trip, we had to stop in Fort Wayne @ the Illinois St. exit for what might be our favorite food in the entire world… Chick-fil-A.
With our stomachs full & extra chicken sandwiches in hand for the next day’s lunch, we got back into the car & we headed for I-69…
which, incidentally, is not remotely close to the highway…
Deep in discussion, lost in the moment free of electronic devices, I missed the on ramp.
And God bless those Hoosiers, they like to divide their roads with high, cement medians…
So, when you’re going the wrong direction, it seems like it is a long time before you can find a spot to turn around.
When I finally found my 1st opportunity to turn left, I had to wait at a traffic light 1st for just one car to my left who was just turning right anyway!
Despite this irritation, I asked the Lord to help me be a better example to Luke & I finally, calmly was able to turn left into the 1st driveway, back up, head back to Illinois Rd. & turn right & head back the way we came.
Going back there was not a northbound on ramp on our side of the road…
so with the concrete median, we had to go past it…
find another street to turn left into so we could turn right & head back to the I-69 northbound on ramp once again.
Through the most improbable series of events, I managed to not make it to the on ramp a 2nd time!
It was a combination of wanting to get around one car too many & hoosier unhospitality not letting me in…
Why would I want to get around one car too many?
My father & his father before him were driven to create the best & safest estimated time of arrival on every trip & the clock in my head was exploding.

So, I find myself @ the same traffic light in the left turn lane waiting for the left turn light to turn green because it’s red again… why wouldn’t it be?
I calmly reassure Luke that this is not the worst thing in the world…
We could have a flat tire or run out of gas in the middle of no where or wrecked…
I carefully weigh my options…I did not see a sign that said I couldn’t U-TURN…
The prospects of turning around in the same person’s driveway seems unpalatable…
If I lived in that house, I would think someone was casing it…
Not wanting to unnerve the neighborhood, I U-TURNED.
How good it felt to finally be going the right direction again.
And the 3rd time was a charm & we made our way north on I-69…
And finally, it felt good to go in the right direction.
I’d like to share a couple of scriptures highlighting a man who went in the wrong direction @ the worst possible time, but then took a major U-TURN @ just the right time.

Luke 22:54-62 “So they arrested Him and led Him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, ‘This man was one of Jesus’ followers!’
But Peter denied it. ‘Woman,’ he said, ‘I don’t even know Him!’
After a while someone else looked at him and said, ‘You must be one of them!’
‘No, man, I’m not!’ Peter retorted.
About an hour later someone else insisted, ‘This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.’
But Peter said, ‘Man, I don’t know what you are talking about,’ And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter.
Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: ‘Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know Me.’ And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.” (NLT)

Next, we fast forward to after Jesus had ascended into heaven & those who followed Jesus the closest are now sharing what Jesus taught them with others…

Acts 2:37-38 “Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’ Peter replied, ‘Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (NLT)

Peter took a U-TURN… and he denied that he even knew Jesus 3 times in one night.
If Peter can U-TURN, then anyone can U-TURN…
         When we sin, we can make a U-TURN by admitting we did something wrong, working to make it right again and receiving forgiveness from Jesus and those people we have hurt.
And now, I want to tell you a story about a car named Miles who went down the wrong path, but learned how to make a U-TURN back to God.
Jane Van Antwerp’s children’s book “U Turn”
www.beyondtheblueministries.com

Whenever we do wrong, we can ALWAYS make a U-TURN back to following God.
The bible tells us in…
I John 1:9 “…if we confess our sins to Him (God), He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (NLT)

Are you going in the right direction in your life?
When you’ve done something wrong, why is it so hard to admit it & say you are sorry?
Our sinful nature doesn’t want to admit wrong doing…
In fact, we will go to great lengths to blame others… or make excuses for our wrong doing… try to rationalize or justify our wrong doing… deny it… hide it… cover it… or bury it…
Communion is a time where we admit to God all of our wrong doing… our sins… try to make our wrongs right if possible… & ask God & others for forgiveness…
And He covers them with His blood…
They are totally forgiven…
Like Peter…
Like Miles the car…
Today is a great day for a U-TURN…
If you’ve been going down the wrong path…
Today is the day for a U-TURN back to God…
It doesn’t matter what traffic signs you’ve disobeyed…
He always will forgive us if we are willing to do a U-TURN back to Him…
Let’s pray.

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