It's been a busy start to the year for popular evangelist Joyce Meyer. No sooner had her Confident Mom hit the shelves and she was putting the finishing touches to another release, this time offering words of encouragement to Christians of all walks and all situations who have hit the bottom and need a reassuring reminder that it needn't be the end.
Anyone familiar with Meyer's sermons and books already will know that she has perfected the art of the pick-me-up, providing simple truths that can be easily grasped by the most complex individuals in the most tangled of life circumstances.
Her latest book, You Can Begin Again, follows in a similar vein, offering more anecdotes from her own personal walk of faith and years of life experience, coupled with grounded advice about how to approach circumstances in a more helpful way, with a mindset salted by the Word of God.
On this particular occasion, Meyer is speaking to those who feel worn out by failure or burdened by a particular mistake. It's a refreshing and releasing message: let go of your past mistakes and see them as something you can learn from. In fact, go to God in prayer and ask him to teach you a valuable lesson from them that can shape something new in you for the better.
In fact, she reminds us, the Bible is full of people who were given the chance to start again and went on to do great things, like Moses, Rahab and Paul.
It's Easter in a few days, a season of remembering Christ's finished work on the cross, but how often we can forget that or feel numb to its liberating power.
Worse than that, as Joyce points out, we can actually go back to our old mistakes instead of resolutely moving on from them.
She argues that this is pointless and we will get nowhere except having to learn the same lesson over and over again. That's where choice comes into play. We have a choice, she reminds us, of how we choose to respond when we have made a mistake:
A. Be condemned for our mistake
B. Be glad we're forgiven but not bother to learn anything
C.Take our mistake to God and ask him to forgive us and teach us from it
She says it's C that we should be choosing:
"God has something new waiting for you. New mind-sets, new attitudes, new victories, and new opportunities. In order to enjoy the life Jesus came to give you, choose to learn from your mistakes rather than repeat them. They can serve as valuable reminders of what God has taught you along the way. I understand that mistakes are somewhat like eating vegetables and may not be your favorite part of the meal, but they're good for you. Don't waste them."
People either love or hate Meyer's style. Some call it simplistic, others love that they can grasp valuable pointers in a short space of time - her books are ideal for people constantly on the go with little time or mental energy to wade through heavy theology. She's been round long enough that unless you're new to the faith, you should know by now which camp you are in. That's really what will determine whether this book is for you or not!