Thursday, January 19, 2023

          Zechariah can be found near the end of the Old Testament.  It is the next to last book of the Old Testament.  He wrote to provide hope and encouragement to Israel during some dire and difficult times.  One of his passions was for people to return to the Lord and to know Him in a rich and rewarding way.  Almost immediately, Zechariah wrote, “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).  He called the people to come back to the Lord.  Returning to the Lord is the essence of revival and reawakening.  We cannot return to the Lord if we have never known Him in the first place.  I cannot return to Belgium if I have never gone there.  Now is a good time to examine yourself.  Do you know the Lord?  Is there a specific time in your life when you trusted Him and Him alone for your salvation?  If the answer is no, uncertain or unclear, now is the time to call on the Name of the Lord.  Now is the time to admit your sinfulness, to believe in your heart that He died for your sins and rose again and to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.  There may never be another chance to do that.  But you have now.
            But if you do know the Lord, perhaps you would return to Him today.  Maybe there is some way you have departed and a return is necessary.  Malachi 3:7 issues an invitation to return to the Lord that is similar to Zechariah’s.  Jeremiah 15:19-21 speaks of returning to the Lord.  I received a letter this week from a man whom I have never met and do not know.  He grew up at our church and came to faith in Christ seventy-three years ago at our church thanks to the influence of his Sunday School teacher.  He wrote to tell me a bit about his salvation story but also to tell me that God renewed his faith in Christ on Christmas night last month.  Imagine that—a believer approaching ninety years old has his faith stirred and renewed on Christmas night.  We are never too old to renew, right?  He wrote, “Pastor, in closing, I can’t help but think there is a teen boy or girl or even an adult who is facing the same feelings I had seventy-three years ago or even on Christmas night when God renewed my faith in my Savior.”  Maybe this dear brother was writing to you or about you.  Maybe you have put off returning to the Lord or even coming to the Lord for the first time.  Maybe now is your time and today is your day—to know Christ for the first time or to renew your walk with Him.
            Today is not too late.  But tomorrow might be.  Perhaps you would agree with Paul who said, “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:7).  Perhaps the very things you prized and valued the most are worthless compared to coming to Christ or returning to Christ.  When we release what we have loved so we can love Christ more then the results and joy are amazing.  He is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).  We are in the early days of 2023 and we often speak of making resolutions or beginning new things.  Perhaps the word for you today is renew—renew your faith in Christ and let Christ renew you.  Return to Him and enjoy Him!  Have a great Thursday!  Join us on Sunday as we partner with our Mandarin Chinese brothers and sisters for a time of baptism.  Remember you can worship all the time at    

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