Saturday, December 10, 2016

Saturday December 10 Turn back

Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the LORD. Lamentations 3:40 NLT
I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign LORD. Turn back and live! Ezekiel 18:32 NLT

If your people Israel are defeated by their enemies because they have sinned against you, and if they turn back and acknowledge your name and pray to you here in this Temple, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and return them to this land you gave to them and to their ancestors. 2 Chronicles 6:24-25 NLT

Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. Revelation 2:5 NLT
Jeremiah, say to the people, "This is what the LORD says: 'When people fall down, don’t they get up again? When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?' ”
Jeremiah 8:4 NLT

We have been talking this week about turning: turning away from sin and turning toward the Lord. But there are a surprising (or perhaps not so surprising, given human nature) number of scripture passages that refer to turning back. These are just a few of them. Did you think it was only you? Were you certain no one else lacked the spiritual GPS to stay on course? Think again! Advent, the New Year of the church is the perfect time to pause and reflect on the direction we are traveling and then reset our course.  It is so easy to get off course in this world, yet the consequences can be devastating.  A ship that is even one degree off course will eventually, if it does not make a correction, find itself far from it's intended destination. My dad was a pilot in WW II. When he taught me to drive, he told me this: "Little corrections all the time. If you are always making little corrections you won't be in a dangerous place where you need to make a big correction."  Good advice for life, yet sometimes I find that I have failed to make those little corrections and indeed I am far afield. That's when a complete turn back is in order. Our God stands patiently waiting for just that. The prophet reminds us: Return to the LORD your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. Joel 2:13 NLT. We can't travel in two directions at one time. We can't be moving away from God and toward God simultaneously. The longer we are moving away from the Lover of our souls, the further away we will find ourselves and the more work it will take to get back...just like Dad told me! How about you? Is it time to turn that ship around? Turn back and find yourself heading straight into the arms of the One who loves you!

Merciful God, sometimes I find myself so far from where I want to be. Help me, O Lord, to see the small corrections I can make along the way so the big ones are not necessary. But if I need to make a big correction, remind me that it is never too late to turn back and that You stand waiting for me to do just that. This I pray in Jesus' name. AMEN!

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