Zechariah 1:3 Return To The Lord

Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD Almighty. Zechariah 1:3

Israel had been in captivity for 70 years. The Israelites were starting to ask how long God would be angry with them and keep them in captivity. God tells them to return to Him and He will return to them. He had been angry with them, but was ready to forgive and move forward, if they were willing.

For many different reasons, there have been people who have chosen to walk away from God. They choose to no longer go to church or serve God at all. Some will continue to go to church, but do not really serve God or even have any type of relationship with Him anymore.

For a lot of these people, who have chosen to walk away from God, they feel as though they can no longer return to Him. They may feel as though God has rejected them for all eternity and that there is no longer any hope left. People feel as though they have committed the greatest sin and can no longer be forgiven.

As much as a person may feel like this, it is not true. Prior to ever serving God, a person was in the same position, rejecting God and living in sin. If God can accept a person then, He will accept the person when he returns again. God is a loving and merciful God. He is ready to forgive and save.

God will not force Himself upon someone, but wants the person to want to have a relationship with Him. He gently calls each person to have that relationship. If the person draws near to God, God will quickly draw near to him.

You may be a spot where you have allowed yourself to walk away from God. You may or may not be in church, but you no longer have a close relationship with God. You may feel as though you are now rejected by God and cannot return.

These are thoughts from the devil, reject them. Draw near to God. Return to Him and seek His forgiveness for the wrongs done and seek to worship and serve Him. He is there waiting for you to return. His love for you knows no end.

Will you return?

I pray today that you will return to God; that you will worship and serve God with your life; that you will have a close relationship with God; and that you will continually draw near to God. 

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Amos 8:1 A Basket Of Ripe Fruit

This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. “What do you see, Amos?” he asked. “A basket of ripe fruit,” I answered. Then the LORD said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.” Amos 8:1

God continues to give Amos visions of what is coming up with the nation of Israel. This time it is a vision of a basket full of ripe fruit. The meaning is that they are ripe for destruction. Israel had chosen to walk away from God and follow many idols. After many tries to get them to turn back, God is saying that He will no longer work with them, they are set to be destroyed.

Fruit that is ripe is fully mature ready to be picked and used. Usually that means it is  ready to be eaten in a positive way. In the case of Israel, they were ripe with a pungent, horrible smell ready to be destroyed. Their sin was rising before God as a horrible smell of death and destruction.

Nearly a thousand years later, Jesus came along and talked about fields being ripe. This time He was talking about them being ready to be harvested for good food. People were out there ready to hear the saving message of the gospel and to turn their hearts towards God.

In a large field, the crops will usually be ripe for something. There will always be some that are ripe for destruction. Something destroyed some of the crops and it is ready to be put into a burn pile. At the same time there is a lot of the crop that is ripe for the picking for the table to be eaten.

Today you are ripe for something. You are either ripe for salvation and doing things for God, or you are ripe for God’s destruction. You have a choice to make as to which thing are you ripe for . God does not want to have to destroy you, His desired choice is to give you an abundant, eternal life.

To know what you are ripe for, you must look at your life. Are you serving God? Or are you serving self and this world?

Allow yourself to be a part of a basket full of ripe fruit ready to be used by God, not destroyed by Him.

I pray today that you will choose God and His ways for your life; that you will not be found guilty of sin; that you will be ripe for being used by God; and that you will seek others who are ripe and bring them the gospel message of Jesus. 

Amos 5:4 A Way To Have Life

This is what the LORD says to Israel: “Seek me and live;” Amos 5:4

Israel had chosen to follow after other gods, refusing to follow God. The result of following those other gods was that God was going to bring death and destruction upon the people of Israel. Even though they sought life among the other gods, all they would find is death. God tells them to seek Him out and they will live, they fill find life.

Although there are many people who attempt or actually commit suicide, most people want to live. Event those who commit suicide have a part of them that want to live, it is just they do not want to live with the pain or trouble that is in their life.

Everywhere people are searching for life. Most people are searching for it in things, other people, or actions. Some think that they find life in accumulating more and more things, cars, sex, houses, bank accounts, drugs, alcohol and more. Each of these things are dead in themselves and cannot give any life.

Others seek life in excitement and adventure. They will travel around the world, ride on thrill rides, participate in dangerous thrilling extreme sports and more. Again with these, each of them are dead in and of themselves. None of these can bring about any life in a person.

Then there are some who seek life in actions or helping others. Many people help the homeless, the abused, the sick, those in prison, and others. They feel that doing something good will bring them the satisfaction of life that people desire and want. While none of these are necessarily bad, they are just actions, and there is no true life in it. The actions are done to humans who cannot provide true life.

The only way you can find a true life that is worth living is in seeking God. God provided life for every human being through Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life. Apart from Jesus, you will die, you will not have life. It may seem like a good life for a while, but in the end, without Jesus, you will die.

Do not be like the Israelites and reject seeking God first. Put God first in your life and seek only Him. Then He will give you life and that life abundantly.

I pray today that you will only seek Jesus; that you will know life in Jesus; that you will not seek life in the things and people of this world; and that God will pour out the abundant life worth living upon you.

Joel 3:14 The Valley Of Decision

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. Joel 3:14

Joel is telling the people that God is getting ready to pour out judgment against the nations. The nations that crushed Israel will have to pay for their sins. The destruction of the nations will be great and it will be a time of great turmoil. Many will be in a place of making  decision. They will have to choose who they will follow–God or some idol.

Every day people have to make decisions. Billions of decisions are made daily in every nation around the world. Some decisions are made after a lot of careful thinking, while others are made by instinct or experience, using very little thought.

When a person walks into a dark room at night, it takes very little to decide to turn on the light in order to see. As a person drives down the road, it takes very little to decide to stay on his own side of the road.

Other decision such as what to wear to work, planning a meal for the family, which movie to go watch, and what to do on a day off from work take a little more thought in making the decision.

More challenging decisions that require a lot of thought and planning are some such as choosing whether to move or not, which job to accept to work at, how much money can be spent and how much should be saved, and whether to get married to someone or not.

Life is full of decisions. One that every person must make is whether to follow Jesus or not in their life. Right now, for many, that does not seem to be an important, pressing choice to make. However, the day of the Lord is near and it needs to be made.

You do not know if you have tomorrow, or even the next second to live. You have to make the choice now as to whether you will follow Jesus or not. As you go through your day, you will be offered choices to sin against God or to follow Him. Only you can make that choice. And that choice has to be made over and over again and again.

You are in a valley of decision.

What are you going to decide today? Follow or reject?

I pray today that you will make the choice to follow Jesus; that you will choose to turn from all sin; that you will choose to be a witness for Jesus; and that you will decide to build the kingdom of God.

1 Samuel 12:25 How To Ensure Destruction

“Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.” 1 Samuel 12:25

Samuel was coming to the end of his life. He re-stated the history of the Israelites and how they kept rejecting God. He also pointed out how God had provided miraculously for them many times and in many different ways. Samuel warned the people to serve God faithfully, but added that if they continue in sin, they and their king will be destroyed.

Most people do not like to look at the reality of the chance of destruction or failure. They want to succeed and win. This becomes especially true of states or countries as a whole. Some nations tend to feel that they are indestructible, that no one is powerful enough to destroy them as a nation.

Looking back on history there have been many very powerful strong nations throughout time. Most of whom thought that they would last forever. Yet, when those nations began to reject God and live in sin, God broke them down and destroyed them. Some were completely destroyed, while others were just made a lot smaller.

As an individual you may be seeing lots of success in your life. Everything may seem to be going great for you. However, if you live a life of purposeful sin, you will lose God’s favor in your life. There will come a day when you will be destroyed.

While living in a sinful lifestyle that destruction will start with the loss of peace, joy, and satisfaction. You will not know any of those things without having Jesus at the center of your life or while living in sin. Ultimately your soul will be destroyed if you continue to reject Jesus and His teachings and live in sin.

It may seem that right now God is ignoring your sin and letting you get by with it, but God is watching and knows what is happening. If you continue in it, you will be destroyed.

How are you living your life today?

Are you living it according to God’s ways?

Or are you living according to your own ways?

Will you live or be destroyed?

I pray today that you will live for God in every area of your life; that you will reject all sin in your life; that you will seek to love and serve God alone; that you will know the life God has for you; and that you will not be destroyed.

1 Samuel 8:7 Rejection

And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 1 Samuel 8:7

Samuel had been leading Israel for many years. His sons were not serving God in the correct way and so the people asked for a king to lead them when Samuel dies. He was upset that the people were asking for a king, but God tells him to listen to the people. God says that it was not Samuel they were rejecting but Himself.

Rejection is something that no one really likes to get. Everyone likes to be accepted, this is especially true when they are striving to help someone. When you are trying to help someone and are looking out for their best interests, it is painful when they reject your help.

Jesus told every believer to be a witness to the rest of the world. As a believer you are supposed to go out and tell everyone the good news that they can have hope, peace and  eternal life. There is nothing better than that. It is the best help you can give any person, in any situation in their life.

As you are bringing that good news to the people, there will be some who will reject it. They will push you away and will not want anything to do with you. It will feel as if they are rejecting you. Yet, it is not you they are rejecting, but Jesus who is in you.

The majority of this world will reject Jesus. Their eyes have been blinded by the deceitfulness of the devil.

That does not mean you stop sharing God’s love and message with them. You do allow them to live as they desire, you do continue to present Jesus to them. It is not you they are rejecting, but God.

When someone starts rejecting you, when you are doing God’s will, turn it over to God. Allow God to deal with them in His way. Do not take the rejection personally, it is God’s problem, not yours.

I pray today that you will hear God’s direction for your life; that you will not reject God in any area of your life; that you will see that people are not rejecting you as much as they are rejecting God; and that you will be a witness of Jesus for all the world to see.

Judges 2:20-22 Consequence Of Disobedience

Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and said, “Because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the LORD and walk in it as their ancestors did.” Joshua 2:20-22

Shortly after Joshua and the leaders who were with him had died, the Israelites started following other gods. They refused to follow God any more. Since they would not follow God, He chose to leave some nations in the land to be a torment and trouble to them. It would test them to see if they would turn back to Him or not.

God gives favor to His people and to those who support His people. Today, this is more than just the nation of Israel, it is every person who believes in and follow Jesus.

When a person follows Jesus, He has a favor that defies logic. This does not mean everything will go perfectly well, but that everything will work out for the best in the end. He will have a peace in the midst of trials and tribulations, because he knows that God is in control and is only working out the best for him.

Homes, communities, towns, cities, states, and nations can all receive the favor of God, if the majority of the people are following Jesus. When the people stop following Jesus, chaos comes with no peace. God’s peace passes all understanding. It is a peace despite what is going on.

How are you contributing to your family, city, and nation today?

Are you serving and following Jesus with all of your heart, soul and mind?

Or are you choosing to follow the ways of this world and rejecting Jesus?

What you do can and will have an effect on other people. It can bring the favor of God, or the rejection of God’s favor on you and on others. Follow God and allow Him to drive out the enemies in your life and in lives of others around you.

I pray today that you will follow the ways of Jesus with all of your heart; that you will not reject God in any area of your life; that you will know the favor God gives you; and that you will be a witness to others around you.