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Even to a non-movie watcher like me, this headline takes my mind directly to the Bill Murray movie that came out in 1993. In the film Murray is a cynical TV weatherman who keeps reliving Groundhog Day while on assignment in Punxsutawney. I am not sure that I have ever seen the movie all the way to the end ... that is, if it has an ending.

Last night I felt like I was having a similar experience. Law and Order was on TV, and I was on the couch. Mid-episode I fell asleep. When I woke up, the same episode was just about to start. About 20 minutes into the show, I decided to take a short walk. When I got back ... you guessed it, the same episode was just about to start once again! About 20 minutes later I went to bed. I have not yet turned the TV on this morning.

While Bill Murray and I both experienced a good deal of frustration as we were repeatedly taken back to the same starting point, that pattern in my life in Christ is very enriching. You see, every time I mess up, or rebel, or wander off path, he comes to me and carries me back to the same starting point. As he does so, he speaks to me the same gracious words, "I love you. I forgive you. You are mine." I start over with a clean slate, motivated and encouraged by his behavior toward me to be more loving and gracious in my thoughts and behavior.

And, when I stumble again, he is there, once again, to pick me up and start me over with those gracious and encouraging words, "I love you. I forgive you. You are mine."

I think this is what Paul is talking about when he writes, "The sacred writings are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man, woman and child of God may be complete, equipped for very good work." (2 Timothy 3.16-17) Those first words that God's breath brings to us over and over again begin his work of making us complete, that is, equipped for every good work "which God prepared ahead of time for us to do." (Ephesians 2.10) That same word then teaches us what love and forgiveness are all about. They warn me when I get off track (reproof), set me back on the right track (correction) and then give me everything I need to become the caring person Jesus seeks to mold me into.

And, while I still am not sure if Bill Murray's movie has an ending, I am happy to report there is no ending to the number of times Jesus comes to us with his gracious words. I may get frustrated with myself, but he will never give up on me ... or you.

"I love you. I forgive you. You are mine." May these words ever ring in your ears ... and assure you that "you are saved by grace through faith ... It is God's gift ... For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do." (Ephesians 2.8-10)

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