Return to the Lord


Friday, September 04, 2020

In the middle of the Prophet Joel’s description of the Day of the Lord, and the judgements that will accompany the return of Jesus, we find this invitation to people:

Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; (Joel 2:13)

This weekend – a long one with a Monday holiday – spend some time contemplating these aspects of God’s nature. They are an open invitation for us to stop laboring so hard to fix everything, including our attempts to fix ourselves, and turn to the One who has everything under control.

  1. We are invited to return to the Lord, which indicates that we have turned away from Him. Reflect on the areas of your life where you have pushed God aside.
  2. We are motivated to return to God because it is safe to do so. The characteristics of God in this verse indicate that no matter what we have done, or how great the sin we have committed, God is ready to receive us and restore us.
  3. God is gracious – giving us what we do not deserve and could never earn. We are not required to work our way back into His favor. Simply repent and turn back to Him and receive His forgiveness.
  4. God is merciful – not giving us what we deserve. He is not contemplating the degree of punishment to enforce upon us. That was all done in Christ on the cross. There is no judgment awaiting those who come to Christ.
  5. God is slow to anger – HALLELUJAH, because we do plenty to justify His anger. He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish in sin. He calmly and caringly waits with open arms to receive you.
  6. God abounds in steadfast love – even while we were separated from Him, His love was faithfully expressed to us. He sent Jesus while we were still in rebellion in our sin. He seeks reconciliation with His children when they wander away in sin. He pursues us with an everlasting love that is not a conditional response to our behavior, but a steadfast expression of His nature. God’s love can be trusted explicitly.

WOW! What a way to start the weekend. May you be encouraged, and find opportunities to encourage others with these truths.

Pastor John

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