Encouragement for Today - Dec. 30, 2009


December 30, 2009


Return to Me

Marybeth Whalen


 "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 (NIV)



At first glance, this verse might seem like God is stand-offish and distant. Why do we have to make the first move? But actually, this verse depicts His great love for us. Like the prodigal's father, He waits patiently for our return. He doesn't find us, shake us and demand us to account for our whereabouts. Instead He scans the horizon for our return.


Hoping, but not forcing. Waiting, but not pressuring. Ultimately He gives us free will. We choose when and if we return. And when we do, He promises to return to us. He is a gentleman who doesn't force Himself upon us. God has to see us move of our own free will. That element of choice is intrinsic in His relationship to us.


Returning to God is a practice we will have to engage in over and over in life. The point is not how many times we return to Him, but that we make the effort to do so each time it is necessary. Perhaps you need to return to Him physically—recommitting to meeting with Him in church on a weekly basis. Perhaps you need to return to Him emotionally—determining to trust Him in a difficult time. Perhaps you need to return to Him spiritually—committing to regular prayer and time spent in His Word.


Whatever your return looks like, don't put it off any longer. And don't doubt that He will return to you. Don't believe lies that you are the exception or that you are asking too much of Him. His Word tells us differently. Hebrews 7:19 says, "…a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God" (NIV). God made the ultimate way for us to return—through His Son, whose death on the cross allowed us to approach the throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). By Him we draw near to God. Not because we are worthy, but because He is.


God wants us to return to Him. He stands waiting with open arms, at the ready to return to us. When He sees us coming, He runs to meet us. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him" (Luke 15:20b, NIV).


Are you ready to make that first move today?


Dear Lord, I need to return to You. Thank You for making it my choice because You love me and want to be in a real relationship with me. I thank You for waiting for me with open arms. Today I am choosing to fall into those open arms again. Thank You that You gave Your Son so that I can always return to You without shame. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


Related Resources:

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers


Visit Marybeth's blog - Cheaper by the Half Dozen


Becoming a Woman of Influence Marybeth Whalen


Confessions of a Good Christian Girl: The Secrets Women Keep and the Grace that Saves Them by Tammy Maltby


Application Steps:   

Using your Bible concordance, look up the word "return." Spend time today reading what God has to say about returning to Him. Write down some of your favorite verses in a journal.



Do You Know This Great Love?


Do you need to return to Him? How will that look for you? What is holding you back? 


Power Verses:

James 4:8a, "Come near to God and he will come near to you." (NIV) 


Joel 2:12-13, "'Even now', declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.'" (NIV)



© 2009 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.


Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105



Originally published Wednesday, 30 December 2009.