Return

Zechariah 1:3 “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the LORD of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the LORD of hosts.

God loves you and took the initiative to show you this love by sending His Son, Jesus to die for your sins, that you might be forgiven.  In order to have a relationship with God, you must respond to Him first.  God is a lover who made the first move and now awaits eagerly for your response.  He will not force us to be in a relationship with Him.  He wants you to willingly choose Him.

Our response must be to return to Him.  To stop walking away from God and turn to take a step towards Him.  When we do, He will be right there, waiting with open arms.  What is stopping you from turning towards Him?  Are you afraid He will not be there?  He will, because He promised to.  Do you believe you have wandered too far?  He is closer to you than you think.  Do you fear His punishment?  His grace is amazing and His forgiveness is complete.  His punishment only comes to those who never return to Him and take Him up on His offer.

Do not let anything stop you.  Return to Him!  He is waiting with open arms and a heart full of love.  You are His desire.  He wants you to love Him,  Return to Him today!

Dear God, I thank you that You are near.  That when we wander, You are never more than a step away.  I thank you for Your forgiveness.  I thank you that You wait with open arms, wanting to welcome me back home.  You are so amazing!  Amen.

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Walk in Truth

3 John 1:3-4

3 It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

What joy it is for parents to see their kids walk in truth.  That is true for both real kids and spiritual kids.  The Apostle John was filled with joy that his spiritual children were walking in the ways of God.  John found no greater joy than to see his children following God.  When we walk in God, we bring joy to other believers.  What encouragement this brings.

Dear God, help me to walk in the truth.  Help me to follow You.  Forgive when I fail and give me the strength to get back up and get going again.  Thank you for the others around me, who are an encouragement.  Amen.

Love is an Action Word

1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

True love is shown when it is put into action.  Many people verbally claim to love, but not all prove it with their actions.  Words are cheap, but actions are valuable.  Anyone can say I love you, but they show their love prove it.  If we love someone we put that love into action and serve that person.

God did that.  He proved His great love for us, by sending His Son.  All of what Jesus did, by both dying and rising are proof of God’s love you and for me.  God did not only proclaim His love and then let us choose Hell.  Instead, He put that love into action and proved it.

Dear God, thank you for putting Your amazing love into action.  Thank you for sending Jesus, Your Son to make a way.  Thank you that I never have to doubt Your love for me.  Help me to love others that way.  Amen.

Personal Testimony

1 John 1:1-3

1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life – 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us- 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

John witnessed the public ministry of Jesus.  He lived with Him, talked with Him, ate with Him, traveled with Him, listened to Him.  For three years John was with Jesus.  Using all of His senses, he tells about Jesus.  He is proclaiming his testimony that we might know Jesus as he knows Him.

John is a first hand witness.  He is not passing down something that he had heard from somebody else.  Everything he tells us about Jesus, came first hand.  This makes what John has to say about Jesus, very important.  There is no here say in his testimony.  Everything about Jesus had been burned into his senses.  So even many years later, as he is writing this letter, the information is still real to him.  We need to pay attention to what he has to say, for he knows all about Jesus.

Dear God, I thank you for the testimony of John.  I thank you that we have accounts so close to the time You lived on earth.  I thank you that John was able to see and hear stuff about You.  Help me to pay close attention to what he has to say, so that I may know You more.  Amen. 

The Patient Will of God

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Thank God that He is patient with us!  If some us were God, we would zap everyone, every time they made a mistake.  I know at times I do that with my kids.  Thankfully I am not God and neither are you!  God is patient with us.  He wants us all to turn from our wicked ways and turn back towards Him.  He gives us plenty of chances to do so.  By His amazing grace, He forgives us when we stumble.  How great is our God!

God’s will is not that any person would go to Hell.  His desire is for all to call upon Jesus and be saved.  It is a very sad day in Heaven, when a sinner dies apart from Him.  He took the initiative and loved us first.  He sent His Son to die for our sins, that we might be forgiven.  God wants every person to love Him, but He does not force us.  He leaves the choice up to us.  We either choose Him or reject Him.  Where we spend eternity is up to us.

Thank you Lord for Your patience with me.  Thank you for Your forgiveness and grace.  Thank you for sending Jesus to die for my sins.  Forgive for being too harsh on others at times.  Help me to show them the same grace that You desire to show them.  Amen.

God Cares About You

1 Peter 3:6-7
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Did you know, that the God of the whole universe, the creator and sustainer of all, cares about you?  Any problem that you are facing, he knows all about and is Lord over that problem.  He is there to see you through and to help you.  His ear is always available for you to talk to.  God cares about you, so much so that He sent His Son to save you from the just deserved punishment because of your sin.  Christ died for your sin, while you were still a sinner.  He loves and pursues you.

How should we respond to this?  We are to respond with an attitude of humility and trust.  We are to cast our burdens on Him.  Take your worries to the cross and leave them there.  We are to trust Jesus with our anxieties.

Dear Lord, thank you for caring for me.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for taking my burdens.  Help me to have faith to leave my worries with You.  Help me to be humble before You.  Amen.

The Word

1 Peter 1:25 BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” And this is the word which was preached to you.

The Bible is timeless.  It is as useful and relevant both in the first century as it is now.   God’s Word does not grow stale.  As a Christian it is a road map for our journey.  It guides through possible snares and traps.  It provides light when things are dark around us.  The truths in it are always true!

Sadly, some people who call themselves Christian’s think it needs to be updated to keep with the times.  They think some of God’s truths are outdated.  They try to change it to fit into their worldview.  That is not how the Bible works.  If we are trying to shape the Bible to fit our views, we are totally wrong.  As we read the Word, the Spirit works in our hearts and conforms us to what we read.  The Bible needs to shape us, we cannot try to shape it.

The Word tells us how to be like Jesus.  The Word share His wonderful promises, which He always keeps.  The Word, convicts of any sin we have in our lives.  The Word shapes us to be more like Him.

Dear Jesus, I thank you for Your eternal Word.  I thank you for the truths inside of it.  I thank you for the wisdom we find in it.  Please Lord, help me to allow the Bible to shape me.  It provides us with a road map for life, help me to follow it.  Amen.

Tickle My Ears

1 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

2 Timothy 4:3-4

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

Sadly this verse is very true today.  Way too many churches soft pedal what the Bible says.  They skip the “offensive” parts.  They do not want to tell people that the Christian life can be hard at times.  The people in these churches are no better.  They prefer the easy gospel over the true gospel.  I heard one famous pastor, deny that Christ is the only way to Heaven, because he did not want to offend people.  All that kind of teaching does is make people feel better about themselves on their way to an eternity in Hell!  I am not saying we need to go out of our way and offend others, but churches need to teach the whole truths of God.  Tickling people’s ears so attendance is higher is not the proper way for a church to be run.

Churches need to teach the whole Bible.  Preach the good and the bad.  They need to go deeper than the ears and go to the hearts of the people there.  That is where a man is changed, in his heart.  Like a good doctor, churches need to tell the people that they have a problem.   Their problem is that sin is killing them, both now and for eternity.  The solution is Jesus and what He did on the cross.  And even after we are saved, life can be hard at times, but that is okay, because we know that Jesus is in charge.  The Apostles did not cry when they were persecuted.  Instead they rejoiced that they were found worthy enough to suffer for Jesus (Acts 5:41).  They found joy in the hard times.  How foolish then to only seek joy in the good times and to hide the hard times from the people.

People need to hear the whole truth.  For Jesus said that the truth will set us free.  We need to hear the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  This truths need to sink deep into our hearts.  Do not settle for ear tickling, but instead seek heart changing preaching.

Dear God, I thank You for the whole Bible.  It tells us all about You and how we can serve You.  It tells us that at times, we will suffer and struggle.  It tells us to hold on to You, for You will see us through.  Help us to seek the truth.  Help our churches be a place that changes hearts and not one that only seeks to tickle ears.  I thank you for Your truths, which have changed my heart and my life.  Amen.

God is Faithful

Lamentations 3:22-23

22 The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

God is faithful.  Him being faithful is part of His nature.  It is who He is.  He does not change.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  If God said something, we can trust that it will come true, for He does not lie.  God is faithful.

And because of that, we can trust Him.  We can believe what He tells us.  We can take Him at His word.  We follow a God who does not change.  We know what to expect with God.  Even if we are not faithful, He is.  What a great relief!  God is a solid rock, a sure foundation.  When times get tough, we can trust in God to not change.  When our worlds are shaken, He is solid.  God is faithful!

Dear God, thank you for being faithful.  Thank you for being the same.  Thank you loving me.  Forgive me for the times when I am not always faithful.  Amen.

Pursue the good

1 Timothy 6:11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.

If you ever have driven on the express way, you know that sometimes it easy to get swept up in traffic and miss your exit.  When you do so you are going the wrong way and need to come up with a plan to fix it.  Life can be the same way.  It easy to get caught up in a moment and to start going the wrong way.  Before we know it, we have traveled a great distance from where we are supposed to be.

Paul tells Timothy to pursue the good things and to not get caught up in the bad things.  That means we need to be aware of what is going on around us, so that we might be prepared to make adjustments to go the right way when its time.  Keep being focused on what you need to focus on.  Do not take your eye off of it.  Keep going.  Pursue what is right.  Pursue God and His love.  Persevere in doing what is good and keep on doing it.

Dear Jesus, help me to go after the right things.  Help me to pursue what is Godly and pure.  Help me to pursue You.  Help me to adjust when I fail to purse You and get back on the right track.  Amen.